Skip to main content

Full text of "Rural rides"

See other formats






No. 638 




'There is no better way of rediscovering 
a lost but still not forgotten England 
than to turn to the colourful pages of 
William Cobbett's Rural Rides,' writes 
Asa Briggs in the Introduction to this 
volume. 'Already when Cobbett began 
to write the accounts of his journeys 
in 1821, the England which he had 
known as a boy was beginning to 
look and to feel different. The land- 
scape was changing as a result of the 
double impact of agricultural enclosure 
and the growth of towns: society too 
was changing as a result of the com- 
bined influences of industry, finance 
and war. To many of Cobbett's con- 
temporaries the changes were good, 
visible signs of the " march of improve- 
ment"; to Cobbett and his followers 
they were bad, but it still seemed that 
there was time enough to reverse them. 
"Events are working together", Cob- 
bett wrote in 1825, "to make the 
country worth living in which, for the 
great body of the people, is at present 
hardly the case." 

'It was for the sake of discovering 
the true state of affairs and appealing 
to others to help promote the proper 
remedies that Cobbett began to travel 
round England.' 

The illustration depicts the birrh-place at Farnham, 
Surrey, of William Cobbett. 

All new volumes and all revised and reprinted 
volumes in Everyman's Library are now pro- 
duced in crown octavo. These are published 
at six prices (except in the U.S.A.) according 
to the length and nature of the work. Volumes 
at the lowest price are in red shaded wrappers, 
marked * in catalogues; the second price in blue 
shaded wrappers f; the third price in green 
shaded wrappers ; the fourth price in yellow 
or brown shaded wrappers : ; the fifth price in 
lilac shaded wrappers Q; the sixth price in 
white wrappers 4. 


3 3333 


08076 9G 

^Bk. v w 





EVER YMAN, I will go with thee y 

and be thy guide, 
In thy most need to go by thy side 


Born in 1762, the self-taught son of a 
labourer from Farnham, Surrey. Served as 
a soldier, but withdrew to Philadelphia to 
avoid persecution. Prosecuted for libel, 1797, 
and returned to London, 1800, where he 
edited a Radical paper. Imprisoned, and 
went to America again, 1817-19. M.P. for 
Oldham, 1832. Died in 1835. 


Rural Rides 






All rights reserved 
Made in Great Britain 

at the 
Aldine Press Letchworth Herts 



Aldine House Bedford Street London 

First included in Everyman s Library 1912 

Last reprinted 1966 

NO. 638 



THERE is no better way of rediscovering a lost but still not 
forgotten England than to turn to the colourful pages of 
William Cobbett's Rural Rides. Already when Cobbett began 
to write the accounts of his journeys in 1821, the England 
which he had known as a boy was beginning to look and to feel 
different. The landscape was changing as a result of the 
double impact of agricultural enclosure and the growth of 
towns: society too was changing as a result of the combined 
influences of industry, finance, and war. To many of Cobbett's 
contemporaries the changes were good, visible signs of the 
'march of improvement': to Cobbett and his followers they 
were bad, but it still seemed that there was time enough to 
reverse them. 'Events are working together,' Cobbett wrote 
in 1825, 'to make the country worth living in which, for the 
great body of people, is at present hardly the case.' In order 
to restore the best in the past it was necessary to root out the 
causes of decay, causes which were all interrelated in what 
Cobbett came to believe was one great 'system,' 'the Thing.' 
In the name of true conservatism, therefore, he appealed for a 
radical reform of the House of Commons. 

It was for the sake of discovering the true state of affairs and 
appealing to others to help promote the proper remedies that 
Cobbett began to travel round England. He rode on relent- 
lessly, even after Whig parliamentary reform in 1832 seemed 
merely to parody his expectations. The account of the last 
ride printed in these two volumes was penned on the eve of the 
first elections for the reformed Parliament. Although Cobbett 
himself was elected a member, the new 'collective wisdom,' as 
he always called the House of Commons, proved no wiser than 
the old. The system went on, and the Thing continued to 
grow. What has happened between 1832 and the present day 
gives a certain sturdy pathos to the main themes of Rural 

The sturdiness, however, is stronger than the pathos. There 
are few books in the English language which are as robust as 
this. When in 1830 Cobbett first assembled in book form the 


vi Introduction 

descriptions of his journeys which had already appeared at 
regular intervals in his Political Register, he was presenting his 
readers with a portrait as well as a landscape. He had put the 
whole of himself into Rural Rides, not merely his impressions 
or his opinions, and the modern reader learns from his book as 
much about the personality and development of England's 
greatest radical as about towns and fields or politics and 
economics. On an August evening in 1826, in a Wiltshire inn, 
as the sun was setting, and the rooks were 'skimming and 
curving over the tops of the trees' and a flock of sheep were 
'nibbling their way in from the down and going to their fold,' 
he mused about the shape of his 'life of adventure, of toil, of 
peril, of pleasure, of ardent friendship and not less ardent 
enmity.' 'After filling me with wonder/ he went on, 'that a 
heart and mind so wrapped up in everything belonging to the 
gardens, the fields, and the woods should have been con- 
demned to waste themselves away amidst the stench, the noise, 
and the strife of cities, it brought me to the present moment.' 
'Nothing is so swift as thought: it runs over a life-time in a 
moment.' The form of Rural Rides was just as suited for such 
long-term contemplation as it was for the statement of griev- 
ances, and the author was free to trace connections or to 
digress into asides according to his mood. Cobbett's digres- 
sions about the formation of clouds, the pretty faces of the 
local girls, the history of parish churches are often both vivid 
and charming: the connections, however, were what interested 
him most. Just as he came to discern one great 'system' in 
all the separate signs of national corruption paper money, 
the national debt, patronage and sinecures, the 'wen' of 
London, the economic power of the Jews and the religious 
appeal of the Methodists, Malthus and Pitt, machinery and 
utilitarian education so he came to see one great unifying 
purpose in his life. Even his enforced flight from England to 
the United States in 1817 to escape from the 'Gagging Bills' of 
Lord Sidmouth seemed in retrospect to have been part of one 
grand design. 'The trip which Old Sidmouth and crew gave 
me to America,' he wrote in August 1823, 'was attended with 
some interesting consequences; amongst which were the intro- 
ducing of the Sussex pigs into the American farm yards; the 
introduction of the Swedish turnip into the American fields; 
the introduction of American apple-trees into England; and 
the introduction of the making, in England, of the straw plat, 
to supplant the Italian. One thing more, and that is of more 

Introduction vii 

importance than all the rest, Peel's Bill arose out of the "puff- 
out" Registers; these arose out of the trip to Long Island; and 
out of Peel's Bill has arisen the best bothering that the wigs of 
the boroughmongers ever received, which bothering will end in 
the destruction of the boroughmongering. It is curious, and 
very useful, thus to trace events to their causes.' 

Curious and useful though Cobbett's discovering of connec- 
tions in his own and in national experience proved to be, it 
presents certain difficulties for the modern reader of Rural 
Rides. Cobbett's direct style, his devastating power of 
denunciation, his careful and detailed observation of nature, 
his unrestrained prejudices, his neat descriptions of places, 
speak for themselves and need no introduction. His quest for 
connections, however, will not be intelligible to a reader who 
is ignorant of the outlines of two basic chronologies first, 
Cobbett's own biography, and second, the social and political 
biography of England from 1797 to 1832. Acquaintance with 
the two chronologies makes passages about Sidmouth, turnips, 
Long Island, and Peel's Bill meaningful and even exciting 
instead of elusive and unrewarding. 

Cobbett was born at Farnham in Surrey in 1762 of farming 
stock. He was restless enough to read Swift's Tale of a Tub 
under a haystack at the age of 1 1, to try to run away to sea, and 
in 1782 to enlist as a private soldier. He served in Nova 
Scotia from 1784 to 1791, and soon became a sergeant. This 
was the summit of his military career, however, for he found 
himself in difficulties after denouncing the conditions of 
soldiers' pay. He withdrew to France in 1792 and later to 
the United States, where he remained until 1800. Within six 
months of arriving in America he had begun his career as a 
writer and a politician: eventually choosing the pen-name 
Peter Porcupine, he spent his time defending the old order and 
the English system of government and bitterly attacking the 
French revolution and republicanism. When he returned to 
England in 1800, he was the idol of the authorities, a protege 
of the politician William Windham, and even on one occasion 
the dinner-companion of William Pitt himself . 

Between 1800 and 1805 Cobbett moved in the middle of a 
world of ministerial writers, although he steadfastly refused to 
sell his independence. It was a sign of his traditionalist 
inclinations when he bought a farm at Botley in Hampshire 
in 1805, where he was to live for twelve years. His life was 
not 'designed' to peter out, however, in rural domesticity. 

* 638 

viii Introduction 

He began to feel increasingly dissatisfied with the stock- 
jobbing, money-making society which seemed to be taking the 
place of the old social order, and such dissatisfaction always 
goaded him to action. When in 1806 the new government, 
the 'Ministry of All the Talents,' of which his old patron 
Windham was a member, failed to attack what he regarded as 
political corruption, he turned with some misgivings from 
Toryism to Radicalism. In 1809 he made an indignant 
protest against the flogging of English militiamen by German 
mercenaries, which earned him two years in Newgate jail. 
He emerged an unflinching radical, and after the end of the 
Napoleonic Wars in 1815, he became the natural leader of a 
national movement for parliamentary reform. His Political 
Register, which had first appeared in 1802 as a Tory periodical, 
became the most influential radical newspaper in the country, 
particularly after its publication in 1816 in a special twopenny 
edition designed to appeal to journeymen and labourers. 

The repressive measures of the post-war government, of 
which Lord Liverpool was prime minister and Lord Sidmouth 
home secretary, forced Cobbett to flee to the United States in 
1817. On this occasion the New World seemed very different 
to him from what it had been in 1792. It was transformed 
into a paradise a country without a standing army, with no 
'tithe-eating tribe of parson-justices' and no national debt. 
When he returned to England in 1819, he held up the American 
example to his English audiences just as he had held up the 
English example to his American audiences during the 1790*5. 
His English audiences were growing rapidly, however, and the 
severe agricultural distress of the early 1820*3 gave him an 
opportunity for the first time to appeal to countrymen as well 
as to journeymen and labourers. The country tours, 'rustic 
harangues,' county meetings, and local dinners, which all played 
a part in his ' agitation,' were to make up the contents of Rural 
Rides. If the final book seems to lack a plan, it must be remem- 
bered that behind it was the bigger plan of Cobbett's own 
political campaigning during the i82o's. 

The first ride was from London to Newbury on a foggy day 
in October 1821. The fog prevented Cobbett from seeing much 
of the fields, but it did not make him lose his way or confuse his 
thoughts and feelings. No fog ever could do. However easily 
his contemporaries got lost in the foggy England of the 1820*5, 
he was always sure of his direction, although it was frequently 
his prejudices rather than his experience which served as a 

Introduction ix 

beacon light. The journeys of his fellow radicals gave him 
little sense of a common pilgrimage, and by 1830, when long- 
awaited parliamentary reform was round the corner, he was as 
bitter in denouncing rival leaders as he was the supporters of the 
old ' system.' When he died in 1835, his personal independence 
was still intact, but he was as disillusioned with the ' reformed ' 
world as he had been with the Ministry of All the Talents. He 
had expected changes in the political system to reverse changes 
in the social and economic system: instead they consolidated 
them. A new generation of radicals was even prepared to take 
for granted forces which he had always resisted to the limits of 
his power. The high hopes of certain passages of Rural Rides 
were dashed. 

It is clear from this brief outline how Cobbett's own bio- 
graphy is inextricably bound up with the social and political 
biography of his country, but certain details of the national 
chronology are important. The key dates for Cobbett were 
not 1793 the year when war with France broke out or 1815 
the year when the Napoleonic Wars came to an end, but 1797 
and 1819. It was in 1797 that Pitt, driven by the needs of war 
finance, resorted to the issue of paper money. It was in 1819 
that Peel's Act, violently opposed by Cobbett, authorized the 
return to gold and the resumption of cash payments. Cobbett 
was all in favour of gold and loathed 'rag money,' but he 
objected to the terms on which the return had been made. 
There had been no reduction in the national debt, no fall in 
taxation, and no sharing of burdens. The fundholders 
continued to profit from the peace just as they had profited 
from the war, and their parasitic hold on the community 
expressed as much in the growth of the size of London as in the 
size of their own private fortunes was actually increased. 
Cobbett believed that the grievances of farmers, who were 
heavily hit by the fall in prices and the greater burden of debt, 
and the distress of labourers, who were driven to starvation, 
could only be remedied by measures which a reformed parlia- 
ment would pass. He did not object to the 'rotten boroughs' 
on grounds of abstract principles so much as on practical and 
moral grounds, and he disliked the political economists and 
'beastly Scotch feelosophers,' who defended the financial 
system, as much as the boroughmongers and placemen who 
upheld the political system. He was not looking for Utopia 
but for Old England, for a land 'with room for us all, and 
plenty for us to eat and to drink,' a land fit for bees and not for 

Select Bibliography 

drones. It needs no introductory gloss to explain the last 
sentence of this edition of Rural Rides ' be the consequences 
to individuals what they may, the greatness, the freedom, and 
the happiness of England must be restored.' 




WORKS. The Soldier's Friend, 1792: Observations on the Emigration of 
Dr Joseph Priestley, 1794; Le Tuteur Anglais, 1795 ; trans. Martens's Law of 
Nations, 1795; The Works of Peter Porcupine, D.D., 1795; The Life and 
Adventures of Peter Porcupine, 1796; The Life of Thomas Paine, 1796; 
Porcupine's Works, 1797; Porcupine's Works, 1801; A Treatise on the 
Culture and Management of Fruit Trees, 1802; Important Considerations for 
the People of this Kingdom, 1803; The Political Proteus, 1804; Cobbett's 
Parliamentary History of England, 1804; Cobbett's Complete Collection of 
State Trials, 1809; The Life of William Cobbett, by Himself, 1809; Letters on 
the Late War between the United States and Great Britain, 1815; Paper 
Against Gold, 1815; A Year's Residence in the United States of America, 
1818; A Grammar of the English Language, 1818; Thomas Paine, A Sketch 
of his Life and Character, 1819; The American Gardener, 1821; Cottage 
Economy, 1821; The Farmer's Friend, 1821: introduction to Jethro lull's 
The Horse-hoeing Husbandry, 1822; Cobbett's Collective Commentaries, 1822; 
A French Grammar, 1824; A History of the Protestant Reformation in 
England and Ireland, 1824; Big O. and Sir Glory, A Comedy in Three Acts, 
1825; Cobbett's Poor Man's Friend, 1826; The Woodlands, 1828; The 
English Gardener, 1828; A Treatise on Cobbett's Corn, 1828; The Emigrant's 
Guide, 1829; Rural Rides, 1830; Advice to Young Men, 1830; Eleven Lec- 
tures on the French and Belgian Revolutions, 1830 ; History of the Regency and 
Reign of King George the Fourth, 1830; Cobbett's Plan of Parliamentary 
Reform, 1830; Surplus Population, A Comedy in Three Acts, 1831; A 
Spelling Book, with Appropriate Lessons in Reading, 1831; A Geographical 
Dictionary of England and Wales, 1832; Cobbett's Tour in Scotland, 1832; 
A New French and English Dictionary, 1833; Life of Andrew Jackson, 1834; 
Three Lectures on the Political State of Ireland, 1834; Cobbett's Legacy to 
Labourers, 1835; Cobbett's Legacy to Parsons, 1835. 

Among the most important newspapers and periodicals edited by Cobbett 
were The Political Censor, 1796-7; Porcupine's Gazette, 1797-1800; The 
Rush-light, 1800; The Porcupine, 1800-1; Cobbett's Political Register (with 
various titles), 1802-35; Le Mercure Anglois, 1803; Cobbett's Parliamentary 
Debates, 1804 onwards; Cobbett's American Political Register, 1816-18; 
Cobbett's Evening Post, 1820; Cobbett's Parliamentary Register, 1820; The 
Statesman, 1822-3; Cobbett's Twopenny Trash, 1831-2. 

BIOGRAPHY AND CRITICISM. W. H. Hazlitt : The Character of William 
Cobbett, 1835; R. Huish: Memoirs of the late William Cobbett, 1836: J. E. 
Thorold Rogers: Historical Gleanings, 1869; E. Smith: William Cobbett; 
A Biography, 2 vols., 1878; E. I. Carlyle: William Cobbett, A Study of His 
Life as shown in His Writings, 1904; L. Melville: The Life and Letters of 
William Cobbett, 2 vols., 1913; G. D. H. Cole: The Life of William Cobbett, 
1924 (3rd ed., 1947); G. K. Chesterton: William Cobbett, 1926; G. D. H. 
and Margaret Cole : Index of Persons mentioned in Rural Rides, a separately 
and privately printed appendix to their edition of Rural Rides, 1930; 
W. Reitzel (ed.): The Progress of a Plough-boy to a Seat in Parliament, 
X 933> W. B. Pemberton: William Cobbett, 1949; M. L. Pearl: William 
Cobbett, A Bibliographical Account of His Life and Times, 1953. 



Introduction by Asa Briggs ..... v 
Journal: From London, through Newbury, to Burghclere, 
Hurstbourn Tarrant, Marlborough, and Cirencester, to 
Gloucester ........ 3 

Journal: From Gloucester, to Bollitree in Herefordshire, 
Ross, Hereford, Abingdon, Oxford, Cheltenham, 
Burghclere, Whitchurch, Uphurstbourn, and thence to 
Kensington ........ 21 

Kentish Journal: From Kensington to Dartford, 
Rochester, Chatham, and Faversham . . 41 

Norfolk and Suffolk Journal . . . 47 

Sussex Journal : To Battle, through Bromley, Sevenoaks, 
and Tunbridge ....... 57 

Sussex Journal: Through Croydon, Godstone, East- 
Grinstead, and Uckfield, to Lewes, and Brighton; 
returning by Cuckfield, Worth, and Red-Hill . . 65 

Through Ware and Royston, to Huntingdon . . 79 

Journal: Hertfordshire, and Buckinghamshire: to St. 
Albans, through Edgware, Stanmore, and Watford, 
returning by Redbourn, Hempstead, and Chesham . 84 

From Kensington to Uphusband; including a Rustic 
Harangue at Winchester. . . . . .92 

Through Hampshire, Berkshire, Surrey, and Sussex . 116 
Journal: Ride from Kensington to Worth, in Sussex 160 

From the [London] Wen across Surrey, across the West 
of Sussex, and into the South-east of Hampshire . 163 

Through the South-east of Hampshire, back through the 
South-west of Surrey, along the Weald of Surrey, and 
then over the Surrey Hills down to the Wen . .185 


xii Contents 


Through the North-east part of Sussex, and all across 
Kent, from the Weald of Sussex, to Dover . . .217 

From Dover, through the Isle of Thanet, by Canterbury 
and Faversham, across to Maidstone, up to Tonbridge, 
through the Weald of Kent and over the Hills by 
Westerham and Hays, to the Wen . . . .239 

From Kensington, across Surrey, and along that County 265 
From Chilworth, in Surrey, to Winchester . . .278 
From Winchester to Burghclere ..... 292 
From Burghclere to Petersfield . . . . .312 



1821, 1822, 1823, 1825, 1826, 1829, 1830, AND 1832: 





A New Edition, with Notes, 




THE reader will perceive that there are, in the course of these 
Rides, some instances in which the Author has gone over the 
same part of the country on more than one occasion: and it 
may, also, be considered that there are certain repetitions in 
the writing, of statements of fact, or of remarks, which might 
with propriety have been omitted. 

That omission, however, it was not easy to effect, without 
such alterations as would perhaps seem objectionable; and it 
has therefore been thought best to reprint the several passages 
in their original form. 

MANCHESTER, June 1853. 




October 30, 1821, Tuesday (Evening). 

FOG that you might cut with a knife all the way from London 
to Newbury. This fog does not wet things. It is rather a 
smoke than a fog. There are no two things in this world ; and, 
were it not for fear of Six-Acts (the " wholesome restraint " 
of which I continually feel) I might be tempted to carry my 
comparison further; but, certainly, there are no two things in 
this world so dissimilar as an English and a Long Island autumn. 
These fogs are certainly the white clouds that we sometimes 
see aloft. I was once upon the Hampshire Hills, going from 
Soberton Down to Petersfield, where the hills are high and 
steep, not very wide at their base, very irregular in their form 
and direction, and have, of course, deep and narrow valleys 
winding about between them. In one place that I had to pass, 
two of these valleys were cut asunder by a piece of hill that 
went across them and formed a sort of bridge from one long hill 
to another. A little before I came to this sort of bridge I saw 
a smoke flying across it; and, not knowing the way by ex- 
perience, I said to the person who was with me, " there is the 
turnpike road (which we were expecting to come to); for, don't 
you see the dust? " The day was very fine, the sun clear, and 
the weather dry. When we came to the pass, however, we 
found ourselves, not in dust, but in a fog. After getting over 
the pass, we looked down into the valleys, and there we saw 
the fog going along the valleys to the north, in detached parcels, 
that is to say, in clouds, and, as they came to the pass, they rose, 


4 Rural Rides 

went over it, then descended again, keeping constantly along 
just above the ground. And, to-day, the fog came by spells. 
It was sometimes thinner than at other times; and these 
changes were very sudden too. So that I am convinced that 
these fogs are dry clouds, such as those that I saw on the Hamp- 
shire-Downs. Those did not wet me at all; nor do these fogs 
wet anything; and I do not think that they are by any means 
injurious to health. It is the fogs that rise out of swamps, and 
other places, full of putrid vegetable matter, that kill people. 
These are the fogs that sweep off the new settlers in the American 
Woods. I remember a valley in Pennsylvania, in a part called 
Wysihicken. In looking from a hill, over this valley, early in 
the morning, in November, it presented one of the most beautiful 
sights that my eyes ever beheld. It was a sea bordered with 
beautifully formed trees of endless variety of colours. As the 
hills formed the outsides of the sea, some of the trees showed 
only their tops; and, every now-and-then, a lofty tree growing 
in the sea itself, raised its head above the apparent waters. 
Except the setting-sun sending his horizontal beams through all 
the variety of reds and yellows of the branches of the trees in 
Long Island, and giving, at the same time, a sort of silver cast 
to the verdure beneath them, I have never seen anything so 
beautiful as the foggy valley of the Wysihicken. But, I was 
told, that it was very fatal to the people; and that whole 
families were frequently swept off by the "fall-fever" Thus 
the smell has a great deal to do with health. There can be no 
doubt that butchers and their wives fatten upon the smell of 
meat. And this accounts for the precept of my grandmother, 
who used to tell me to bite my bread and smell to my cheese ; 
talk much more wise than that of certain old grannies, who go 
about England crying up " the blessings " of paper-money, taxes, 
and national debts. 

The fog prevented me from seeing much of the fields as I 
came along yesterday; but the fields of Swedish turnips that 
I did see were good; pretty good; though not clean and neat 
like those in Norfolk. The farmers here, as everywhere else, 
complain most bitterly; but they hang on, like sailors to the 
masts or hull of a wreck. They read, you will observe, nothing 
but the country newspapers; they, of course, know nothing of 
the cause of their " bad times." They hope " the times will 
mend." If they quit business, they must sell their stock; and, 
having thought this worth so much money, they cannot endure 
the thought of selling for a third of the sum. Thus they hang 

London to Burghclere 5 

on; thus the landlords will first turn the farmers' pockets 
inside out; and then their turn comes. To finish the present 
farmers will not take long. There has been stout fight going 
on all this morning (it is now 9 o'clock) between the sun and 
the fog. I have backed the former, and he appears to have 
gained the day; for he is now shining most delightfully. 

Came through a place called " a park " belonging to a Mr. 
Montague, who is now abroad ; for the purpose, I suppose, of 
generously assisting to compensate the French people for what 
they lost by the entrance of the Holy Alliance Armies into their 
country. Of all the ridiculous things I ever saw in my life this 
place is the most ridiculous. The house looks like a sort of 
church, in somewhat of a gothic style of building, with crosses 
on the tops of different parts of the pile. There is a sort of 
swamp, at the foot of a wood, at no great distance from the 
front of the house. This swamp has been dug out in the middle 
to show the water to the eye; so that there is a sort of river, 
or chain of diminutive lakes, going down a little valley, about 
500 yards long, the water proceeding from the soak of the higher 
ground on both sides. By the sides of these lakes there are 
little flower gardens, laid out in the Dutch manner; that is to 
say, cut out into all manner of superficial geometrical figures. 
Here is the grand en petit, or mock magnificence, more complete 
than I ever beheld it before. Here is a fountain, the basin of 
which is not four feet over, and the water spout not exceeding 
the pour from a tea-pot. Here is a bridge over a river of which 
a child four years old would clear the banks at a jump. I could 
not have trusted myself on the bridge for fear of the conse- 
quences to Mr. Montague; but I very conveniently stepped 
over the river, in imitation of the Colossus. In another part 
there was a lion's mouth spouting out water into the lake, which 
was so much like the vomiting of a dog, that I could almost 
have pitied the poor Lion. In short, such fooleries I never 
before beheld; but what I disliked most was the apparent 
impiety of a part of these works of refined taste. I did not like 
the crosses on the dwelling house; but, in one of the gravel 
walks, we had to pass under a gothic arch, with a cross on the 
top of it, and in the point of the arch a niche for a saint or a 
virgin, the figure being gone through the lapse of centuries, and 
the pedestal only remaining as we so frequently see on the out- 
sides of Cathedrals and of old churches and chapels. But the 
good of it was, this gothic arch, disfigured by the hand of old 
Father Time, was composed of Scotch fir wood, as rotten as a 

6 Rural Rides 

pear; nailed together in such a way as to make the thing appear, 
from a distance, like the remnant of a ruin ! I wonder how long 
this sickly, this childish, taste is to remain? I do not know 
who this gentleman is. I suppose he is some honest person 
from the 'Change or its neighbourhood; and that these gothic 
arches are to denote the antiquity of his origin I Not a bad plan; 
and, indeed, it is one that I once took the liberty to recommend 
to those Fundlords who retire to be country-'squires. But I 
never recommended the Crucifixes I To be sure the Roman 
Catholic religion may, in England, be considered as a gentleman's 
religion, it being the most ancient in the country; and, there- 
fore, it is fortunate for a Fundlord when he happens (if he ever 
do happen) to be of that faith. 

This gentleman may, for anything that I know, be a Catholic ; 
in which case I applaud his piety and pity his taste. At the 
end of this scene of mock grandeur and mock antiquity I found 
something more rational; namely, some hare hounds, and, in 
half-an-hour after, we found, and I had the first hare-hunt that 
I had had since I wore a smock-frock ! We killed our hare after 
good sport, and got to Burghclere in the evening to a nice farm- 
house in a dell, sheltered from every wind, and with plenty of 
good living; though with no gothic arches made of Scotch-fir ' 

October 31. Wednesday. 

A fine day. Too many hares here; but, our hunting was 
not bad; or, at least, it was a great treat to me, who used, 
when a boy, to have my legs and thighs so often filled with 
thorns in running after the hounds, anticipating with pretty 
great certainty, a " waling ' ' of the back at night. We had 
grey-hounds a part of the day; but the ground on the hills is 
so flinty, that I do not like the country for coursing. The dogs' 
legs are presently cut to pieces. 

Nov. i. Thursday. 

Mr. Budd has Swedish turnips^ mangel-wurzel, and cabbages 
of various kinds, transplanted. All are very fine indeed. 
It is impossible to make more satisfactory experiments in 
transplanting than have been made here. But this is not a 
proper place to give a particular account of them. I went 
to see the best cultivated parts round Newbury; but I saw 
no spot with half the " feed " that I see here, upon a spot of 
similar extent. 

Hurstbourn Tarrant 7 


Nov. 2. Friday. 

This place is commonly called Uphusband, which is, I think, 
as decent a corruption of names as one would wish to meet with. 
However, Uphusband the people will have it, and Uphusband 
it shall be for me. I came from Berghclere this morning, and 
through the park of Lord Caernarvon, at Highclere. It is a fine 
season to look at woods. The oaks are still covered, the 
beeches in their best dress, the elms yet pretty green, and the 
beautiful ashes only beginning to turn off. This is, according 
to my fancy, the prettiest park that I have ever seen. A great 
variety of hill and dell. A good deal of water, and this, in one 
part, only wants the colours of American trees to make it look 
like a " creek ; " for the water runs along at the foot of a steepish 
hill, thickly covered with trees, and the branches of the lower- 
most trees hang down into the water and hide the bank com- 
pletely. I like this place better than Fonthill, Blenheim, Stowe, 
or any other gentleman's grounds that I have seen. The house 
I did not care about, though it appears to be large enough to 
hold half a village. The trees are very good, and the woods 
would be handsomer if the larches and firs were burnt, for which 
only they are fit. The great beauty of the place is, the lofty 
downs, as steep, in some places, as the roof of a house, which 
form a sort of boundary, in the form of a part of a crescent, to 
about a third part of the park, and then slope off and get more 
distant, for about half another third part. A part of these downs 
is covered with trees, chiefly beech, the colour of which, at this 
season, forms a most beautiful contrast with that of the down 
itself, which is so green and so smooth ! From the vale in the 
park, along which we rode, we looked apparently almost per- 
pendicularly up at the downs, where the trees have extended 
themselves by seed more in some places than others, and thereby 
formed numerous salient parts of various forms, and, of course, 
as many and as variously formed glades. These, which are always 
so beautiful in forests and parks, are peculiarly beautiful in this 
lofty situation and with verdure so smooth as that of these 
chalky downs. Our horses beat up a score or two of hares as 
we crossed the park; and, though we met with no gothic arches 
made of Scotch-fir, we saw something a great deal better; 
namely, about forty cows, the most beautiful that I ever saw, 
as to colour at least. They appear to be of the Galway-breed. 
They are called , in this country, Lord Caernarvon's breed. They 

8 Rural Rides 

have no horns, and their colour is a ground of white with black 
or red spots, these spots being from the size of a plate to that 
of a crown-piece; and some of them have no small spots. These 
cattle were lying down together in the space of about an acre 
of ground: they were in excellent condition, and so fine a sight 
of the kind I never saw. Upon leaving the park, and coming 
over the hills to this pretty vale of Uphusband, I could not help 
calculating how long it might be before some Jew would begin 
to fix his eye upon Highclere, and talk of putting out the present 
owner, who, though a Whig, is one of the best of that set of 
politicians, and who acted a manly part in the case of our deeply 
injured and deeply lamented queen. Perhaps his lordship 
thinks that there is no fear of the Jews as to him. But does he 
think that his tenants can sell fat hogs at 75. 6d. a score, and 
pay him more than a third of the rent that they have paid him 
while the debt was contracting ? I know that such a man does 
not lose his estate at once ; but, without rents, what is the estate ? 
And that the Jews will receive the far greater part of his rents 
is certain, unless the interest of the debt be reduced. Lord 
Caernarvon told a man, in 1820, that he did not like my politics. 
But what did he mean by my politics ? I have no politics but 
such as he ought to like. I want to do away with that infernal 
system, which, after having beggared and pauperised the labour- 
ing classes, has now, according to the report, made by the 
ministers themselves to the House of Commons, plunged the 
owners of the land themselves into a state of distress, for which 
those ministers themselves can hold out no remedy! To be 
sure I labour most assiduously to destroy a system of distress 
and misery; but is that any reason why a lord should dislike 
my politics? However, dislike, or like them, to them, to those 
very politics, the lords themselves must come at last. And lhat 
I should exult in this thought, and take little pains to disguise 
my exultation, can surprise nobody who reflects on what has 
passed within these last twelve years. If the landlords be well; 
if things be going right with them; if they have fair prospects 
of happy days; then what need they care about me and my 
politics ; but if they find themselves in " distress," and do not 
know how to get out of it; and if they have been plunged into 
this distress by those who " dislike my politics; ' is there not 
some reason for men of sense to hesitate a little before they 
condemn those politics? If no great change be wanted; if 
things could remain even; then men may, with some show of 
reason, say that I am disturbing that which ought to be let 

Hurstbourn Tarrant 9 

alone. But if things cannot remain as they are; if there must 
be a great change ; is it not folly, and, indeed, is it not a species 
of idiotic perverseness, for men to set their faces, without rhyme 
or reason, against what is said as to this change by me, who have, 
for nearly twenty years, been warning the country of its danger, 
and foretelling that which has now come to pass and is coming 
to pass ? However, I make no complaint on this score. People 
disliking my politics " neither picks my pocket, nor breaks my 
leg," as Jefferson said by the writings of the Atheists. If they 
be pleased in disliking my politics, I am pleased in liking them ; 
and so we are both enjoying ourselves. If the country want no 
assistance from me, I am quite sure that I want none from it. 

Nov. 3. Saturday. 

Fat hogs have lately sold, in this village, at 75. 6d. a score 
(but would hardly bring that now), that is to say, at 4^. a 
pound. The hog is weighed whole, when killed and dressed. 
The head and feet are included ; but, so is the lard. Hogs fatted 
on peas or barley-meal may be called the very best meat that 
England contains. At Salisbury (only about 20 miles off) fat 
hogs sell for 55. to 45. 6d. a score. But, then, observe, these are 
dairy hogs, which are not nearly so good in quality as the corn-fed 
hogs. But I shall probably hear more about these prices as I 
get further towards the West. Some wheat has been sold at 
Newbury-market for 6 a load (40 bushels); that is at 35. a 
bushel. A considerable part of the crop is wholly unfit for 
bread flour, and is not equal in value to good barley. In not a 
few instances the wheat has been carried into the gate, or yard, 
and thrown down to be made dung of. So that, if we were to 
take the average, it would not exceed, I am convinced, 55. a 
bushel in this part of the country; and the average of all 
England would not, perhaps, exceed 45. or 35". 6d. a bushel. 
However, Lord Liverpool has got a bad harvest at last! That 
remedy has been applied! Somebody sent, me some time ago, 
that stupid newspaper, called the Morning Herald, in which its 
readers were reminded of my "false prophecies" I having (as 
this paper said) foretold that wheat would be at two shillings a 
bushel before Christmas. These gentlemen of the " respectable 
part of the press " do not mind lying a little upon a pinch. [See 
Walter's Times of Tuesday last, for the following: " Mr. Cobbett 
has thrown open the front of his house at Kensington, where he 
proposes to sell meat at a reduced price."] What I said was this: 

io Rural Rides 

that, if the crop were good and the harvest fine, and gold 
continued to be paid at the Bank, we should see wheat at four, 
not two, shillings a bushel before Christmas. Now, the crop 
was, in many parts, very much blighted, and the harvest was 
very bad indeed; and yet the average of England, including 
that which is destroyed, or not brought to market at all, will 
not exceed 45. a bushel. A farmer told me, the other day, that 
he got so little offered for some of his wheat, that he was resolved 
not to take any more of it to market; but to give it to hogs. 
Therefore, in speaking of the price of wheat, you are to take in 
the unsold as well as the sold; that which fetches nothing as 
well as that which is sold at high price. I see, in the Irish 
papers, which have overtaken me on my way, that the system 
is working the Agriculturasses in " the sister-kingdom ' too ! 
The following paragraph will show that the remedy of a bad 
harvest has not done our dear sister much good. " A very 
numerous meeting of the Kildare Farming Society met at Naas 
on the 24th inst., the Duke of Leinster in the chair; Robert 
de la Touche, Esq., M.P., vice-president. Nothing can more 
strongly prove the BADNESS OF THE TIMES, and very unfortunate 
state of the country, than the necessity in which the Society 
finds itself of discontinuing its premiums, from its present want 
of funds. The best members of the farming classes have got 
so much in arrear in their subscriptions that they have declined 
to appear or to dine with their neighbours, and general depression 
damps the spirit of the most industrious and hitherto prosperous 
cultivators." You are mistaken, Pat; it is not the times any 
more than it is the stars. Bobadil, you know, imputed his 
beating to the planets : " planet-stricken, by the foot of 
Pharaoh!" "No, Captain," says Welldon, "indeed it was a 
stick." It is not the times, dear Patrick: it is the government, 
who having first contracted a great debt in depreciated money, 
are now compelling you to pay the interest at the rate of three 
for one. Whether this be right, or wrong, the Agriculturasses 
best know: it is much more their affair than it is mine; but be 
you well assured that they are only at the beginning of their 
sorrows. Ah ! Patrick, whoever shall live only a few years will 
see a grand change in your state! Something a little more 
rational than " Catholic Emancipation " will take place, or I 
am the most deceived of all mankind. This debt is your best, 
and, indeed, your only friend. It must, at last, give the THING 
a shake, such as it never had before. The accounts which 
my country newspapers give of the failure of farmers are 

Hurstbourn Tarrant 1 1 

perfectly dismal. In many, many instances they have put an 
end to their existence, as the poor deluded creatures did who 
had been ruined by the South Sea Bubble! I cannot help 
feeling for these people, for whom my birth, education, taste, 
and habits give me so strong a partiality. Who can help feeling 
for their wives and children, hurled down headlong from 
affluence to misery in the space of a few months! Become all 
of a sudden the mockery of those whom they compelled, perhaps, 
to cringe before them! If the labourers exult, one cannot say 
that it is unnatural. If Reason have her fair sway, I am 
exempted from all pain upon this occasion. I have done my 
best to prevent these calamities. Those farmers who have 
attended to me are safe while the storm rages. My endeavours 
to stop the evil in time cost me the earnings of twenty long years ! 
I did not sink, no, nor bend, beneath the heavy and reiterated 
blows of the accursed system, which I have dealt back blow for 
blow; and, blessed be God, I now see it reel I It is staggering 
about like a sheep with water in the head: turning its pate up 
on one side: seeming to listen, but has no hearing: seeming to 
look, but has no sight: one day it capers and dances: the next 
it mopes and seems ready to die. 

Nov. 4. Sunday. 

This, to my fancy, is a very nice country. It is continual hill 
and dell. Now and then a chain of hills higher than the rest, 
and these are downs or woods. To stand upon any of the hills 
and look around you, you almost think you see the ups and 
downs of sea in a heavy swell (as the sailors call it) after what 
they call a gale of wind. The undulations are endless, and the 
great variety in the height, breadth, length, and form of the 
little hills, has a very delightful effect. The soil, which, to look 
on it, appears to be more than half flint stones, is very good in 
quality, and, in general, better on the tops of the lesser hills 
than in the valleys. It has great tenacity; does not wash away 
like sand, or light loam. It is a stiff, tenacious loam, mixed 
with flint stones. Bears saint-foin well, and all sorts of grass, 
which make the fields on the hills as green as meadows, even at 
this season; and the grass does not burn up in summer. In 
a country so full of hills one would expect endless runs of water 
and springs. There are none: absolutely none. No water- 
furrow is ever made in the land. No ditches round the fields. 
And, even in the deep valleys, such as that in which this village 
is situated, though it winds round for ten or fifteen miles, there 

12 Rural Rides 

is no run of water even now. There is the bed of a brook, which 
will run before spring, and it continues running with more or 
less water for about half the year, though, some years, it never 
runs at all. It rained all Friday night; pretty nearly all day 
yesterday; and to-day the ground is as dry as a bone, except 
just along the street of the village, which has been kept in a sort 
of stabble by the flocks of sheep passing along to and from 
Appleshaw fair. In the deep and long and narrows valleys, 
such as this, there are meadows with very fine herbage and 
very productive. The grass very fine and excellent in its 
quality. It is very curious, that the soil is much shallower in 
the vales than on the hills. In the vales it is a sort of hazle- 
mould on a bed of something approaching to gravel; but, on 
the hills, it is stiff loam, with apparently half flints, on a bed 
of something like clay first (reddish, not yellow) and then comes 
the chalk, which they often take up by digging a sort of wells; 
and then they spread it on the surface, as they do the clay in 
some countries, where they sometimes fetch it many miles and 
at an immense expense. It was very common, near Botley, to 
chalk land at an expense of sixteen pounds an acre. The 
land here is excellent in quality generally, unless you get upon 
the highest chains of hills. They have frequently 40 bushels of 
wheat to the acre. Their barley is very fine; and their saint- 
foin abundant. The turnips are, in general, very good at this 
time; and the land appears as capable of carrying fine crops 
of them as any land that I have seen. A fine country for sheep : 
always dry: they never injure the land when feeding off turnips 
in wet weather; and they can lie down on the dry; for the 
ground is, in fact, never wet except while the rain is actually 
falling. Sometimes, in spring-thaws and thunder-showers, the 
rain runs down the hills in torrents; but is gone directly. The 
flocks of sheep, some in fold and some at large, feeding on the 
sides of the hills, give great additional beauty to the scenery. 
The woods, which consist chiefly of oak thinly intermixed with 
ash, and well set with underwood of ash and hazel, but mostly 
the latter, are very beautiful. They sometimes stretch along 
the top and sides of hills for miles together; and, as their edges, 
or outsides, joining the fields and the downs, go winding and 
twisting about, and as the fields and downs are naked of trees, 
the sight altogether is very pretty. The trees in the deep and 
long valleys, especially the elm and the ash, are very fine and 
very lofty; and, from distance to distance, the rooks have made 
them their habitation. This sort of country, which, in irregular 

Hurstbourn Tarrant 13 

shape, is of great extent, has many and great advantages. Dry 
under foot. Good roads, winter as well as summer, and little, 
very little expense. Saint-foin flourishes. Fences cost little. 
Wood, hurdles, and hedging-stuff cheap. No shade in wet 
harvests. The water in the wells excellent. Good sporting 
country, except for coursing, and too many flints for that. 
What becomes of all the water ? There is a spring, in one of the 
cross valleys that runs into this, having a basin about thirty 
feet over, and about eight feet deep, which they say sends up 
water once in about 30 or 40 years; and boils up so as to make 
a large current of water. Not far from Uphusband the Wans- 
dike (I think it is called) crosses the country. Sir Richard Colt 
Hoare has written a great deal about this ancient boundary, 
which is, indeed, something very curious. In the ploughed 
fields the traces of it are quite gone; but they remain in the 
woods as well as on the downs. 

Nov. 5. Monday. 

A white frost this morning. The hills round about beautiful 
at sun-rise, the rooks making that noise which they always make 
in winter mornings. The starlings are come in large flocks; 
and, which is deemed a sign of a hard winter, the fieldfares are 
come at an early season. The haws are very abundant; which, 
they say, is another sign of a hard winter. The wheat is high 
enough here, in some fields, " to hide a hare," which is, indeed, 
not saying much for it, as a hare knows how to hide herself 
upon the bare ground. But it is, in some fields, four inches 
high, and is green and gay, the colour being finer than that of 
any grass. The fuel here is wood. Little coal is brought from 
Andover. A load of faggots does not cost above IQS. So that, 
in this respect, the labourers are pretty well off. The wages 
here and in Berkshire, about 8s. a week; but the farmers talk 
of lowering them. The poor-rates heavy, and heavy they must 
be, till taxes and rents come down greatly. Saturday and 
to-day Appleshaw sheep-fair. The sheep, which had taken a 
rise at Weyhill-fair, have fallen again even below the Norfolk 
and Sussex mark. Some South -Down lambs were sold at 
Appleshaw so low as Ss. and some even lower. Some Dorset- 
shire ewes brought no more than a pound; and, perhaps, the 
average did not exceed 285. I have seen a farmer here who can 
get (or could a few days ago) 2Ss. round for a lot of fat South- 
Down wethers, which cost him just that money, when they 
were lambs, two years ago I It is impossible that they can have 

14 Rural Rides 

cost him less than 245. each during the two years, having to be 
fed on turnips or hay in winter, and to be fatted on good grass. 
Here (upon one hundred sheep) is a loss of 120 and 14 in 
addition at five per cent, interest on the sum expended in the 
purchase; even suppose not a sheep has been lost by death or 
otherwise. I mentioned before, I believe, that fat hogs are 
sold at Salisbury at from 55. to 45. 6d. the score pounds, dead 
weight. Cheese has come down in the same proportion. A 
correspondent informs me that one hundred and fifty Welsh 
sheep were, on the i8th of October, offered for 4*. 6d. a head, 
and that they went away unsold ! The skin was worth a 
shilling of the money! The following I take from the Tyne 
Mercury of the 3oth of October. " Last week, at Northawton 
fair, Mr. Thomas Cooper, of Bow, purchased three milch cows 
and forty sheep, for 18 165. 6d. ! ' The skins, four years ago, 
would have sold for more than the money. The Hampshire 
Journal says, that, on i November (Thursday) at Newbury 
Market, wheat sold from 88.?. to 245. the quarter. This would 
make an average of 565. But very little indeed was sold at 885., 
only the prime of the old wheat. The best of the new for about 
485. and, then, if we take into view the great proportion that 
cannot go to market at all, we shall not find the average, even 
in this rather dear part of England, to exceed 32.9., or 45. a 
bushel. And, if we take all England through, it does not come 
up to that, nor anything like it. A farmer very sensibly 
observed to me yesterday, that, " if we had had such a crop and 
such a harvest a few years ago, good wheat would have been 50 
a load ; " that is to say, 255. a bushel ! Nothing can be truer than 
this. And nothing can be clearer than that the present race 
of farmers, generally speaking, must be swept away by bank- 
ruptcy, if they do not, in time, make their bow, and retire. 
There are two descriptions of farmers, very distinct as to the 
effects which this change must naturally have on them. The 
word farmer comes from the French, fermier, and signifies renter. 
Those only who rent, therefore, are, properly speaking, fanners. 
Those who till their own land are yeomen ; and, when I was a 
boy, it was the common practice to call the former farmers and 
the latter yeoman-farmers. These yeomen have, for the greater 
part, been swallowed up by the paper-system which has drawn 
such masses of money together. They have, by degrees, been 
bought out. Still there are some few left; and these, if not in 
debt, will stand their ground. But all the present race of mere 
renters must give way, in one manner or another. They must 

Marlborough 15 

break, or drop their style greatly; even in the latter case,, their 
rent must, very shortly, be diminished more than two-thirds. 
Then comes the landlord's turn ; and the sooner the better. 
In the Maids tone Gazette I find the following: " Prime beef was 
sold in Salisbury market, on Tuesday last, at 4^. per lb., and 
good joints of mutton at 3!^.; butter, nd. and i2d. per lb. In 
the west of Cornwall, during the summer, pork has often been 
sold at z\d, per lb." This is very true; and what can be better? 
How can Peel's Bill work in a more delightful manner? V'hat 
nice " general working of events I ' The country rag-merchants 
have now very little to do. They have no discounts. What they 
have out they owe : it is so much debt : and, of course, they 
become poorer and poorer, because they must, like a mortgager, 
have more and more to pay as prices fall. This is very good; 
for it will make them disgorge a part, at least, of what they have 
swallowed, during the years of high prices and depreciation. 
They are worked in this sort of way: the tax-collectors, the 
excise-fellows, for instance, hold their sittings every six weeks, 
in certain towns about the country. They will receive the 
country rags, if the rag man can find, and will give, security 
for the due payment of his rags, when they arrive in London. 
For want of such security, or of some formality of the kind, 
there was a great bustle in a town in this county not many days 
ago. The excise-fellow demanded sovereigns, or Bank of Eng- 
land notes. Precisely how the matter was finally settled I 
know not; but the reader will see that the exciseman was only 
taking a proper precaution; for, if the rags were not paid in 
London, the loss was his ! 

Tuesday noon, Nov. 6. 

I left Uphusband this morning at 9, and came across to this 
place (20 miles) in a post-chaise. Came up the valley of 
Uphusband, which ends at about 6 miles from the village, and 
puts one out upon the Wiltshire downs, which stretch away 
towards the west and south-west, towards Devizes and towards 
Salisbury. After about half a mile of down we came down into 
a level country; the flints cease, and the chalk comes nearer 
the top of the ground. The labourers along here seem very 
poor indeed. Farm houses with twenty ricks round each, besides 
those standing in the fields; pieces of wheat, 50, 60, or 100 acres 
in a piece ; but a group of women labourers, who were attending 

1 6 Rural Rides 

the measurers to measure their reaping work, presented such an 
assemblage of rags as I never before saw even amongst the 
hoppers at Farnham, many of whom are common beggars. 1 
never before saw country people, and reapers too, observe, so 
miserable in appearance as these. There were some very pretty 
girls, but ragged as colts and as pale as ashes. The day was 
cold too, and frost hardly off the ground; and their blue arms 
and lips would have made any heart ache but that of a seat- 
seller or a loan-jobber. A little after passing by these poor 
things, whom I left, cursing, as I went, those who had brought 
them to this state, I came to a group of shabby houses upon 
a hill. While a boy was watering his horses, I asked the ostler 
the name of the place; and, as the old women say, " you might 
have knocked me down with a feather," when he said, " Great 
Bedwin" The whole of the houses are not intrinsically worth 
a thousand pounds. There stood a thing out in the middle of 
the place, about 25 feet long and 15 wide, being a room stuck 
up on unhewed stone pillars about 10 feet high. It was the 
Town Hall, where the ceremony of choosing the two members is 
performed. " This place sends members to parliament, don't 
it?" said I to the ostler. "Yes, sir." "Who are members 
now ?' "I don't know, indeed, sir." I have not read the 
Henriade of Voltaire for these 30 years ; but in ruminating upon 
the ostler's answer; and in thinking how the world, yes, the 
whole world, has been deceived as to this matter, two lines of 
that poem came across my memory. 

Representans du peuple, les Grands et le Roi: 
Spectacle magnifique! Source sacree des lois! 1 

The Frenchman, for want of understanding the THING as well 
as I do, left the eulogium incomplete. I therefore here add 
four lines, which I request those who publish future editions of 
the Henriade to insert in continuation of the above eulogium 
of Voltaire. 

Representans du peuple, que celui-c gnore, 
Sont fait a miracle pour garder son Or ! 
Peuple trop heureux, que le bonheur inonde! 
L'envie de vos voisins, admire du monde ! a 

1 1 will not swear to the very words ; but this is the meaning of Voltaire: 
" Representatives of the people, the Lords and the King: ' Magnificent 
spectacle! Sacred source of the Laws! " 

a " Representatives of the people, of whom the people know nothing, 
must be miraculously well calculated to have the care of their money! 
Oh! people too happy! overwhelmed with blessings! The envy of your 
neighbours, and admired by the whole world ! " 

Cirencester 17 

The first line was suggested by the ostler; the last by the 
words which we so very often hear from the bar, the bench, the 
seats, the pulpit, and the throne. Doubtless my poetry is not 
equal to that of Voltaire; but my rhyme is as good as his, and 
my reason is a great deal better. In quitting this villainous 
place we see the extensive and uncommonly ugly park and 
domain of Lord Aylesbury, who seems to have tacked park on 
to park, like so many outworks of a fortified city. I suppose 
here are 50 or 100 farms of former days swallowed up. They 
have been bought, I dare say, from time to time; and it would 
be a labour very well worthy of reward by the public, to trace 
to its source, the money by which these immense domains, in 
different parts of the country, have been formed ! Marl- 
borough, which is an ill-looking place enough, is succeeded, on 
my road to Swindon, by an extensive and very beautiful down 
about 4 miles over. Here nature has flung the earth about in 
a great variety of shapes. The fine short smooth grass has 
about 9 inches of mould under it, and then comes the chalk. 
The water that runs down the narrow side-hill valleys is caught, 
in different parts of the down, in basins made on purpose, and 
lined with clay apparently. This is for watering the sheep in 
summer; sure sign of a really dry soil; and yet the grass never 
parches upon these downs. The chalk holds the moisture, and 
the grass is fed by the dews in hot and dry weather. At the 
end of this down the high-country ends. The hill is high and 
steep, and from it you look immediately down into a level farm- 
ing country; a little further on into the dairy-country, whence 
the North-Wilts cheese comes; and, beyond that, into the vale 
of Berkshire, and even to Oxford, which lies away to the north- 
east from this hill. The land continues good, flat and rather 
wet to Swindon, which is a plain country town, built of the stone 
which is found at about 6 feet under ground about here. I 
come on now towards Cirencester, through the dairy country 
of North Wilts. 

Wednesday (noon), 7 Nov. 

I slept at a dairy-farm house at Hannington, about eight 
miles from Swindon, and five on one side of my road. I passed 
through that villainous hole, Cricklade, about two hours ago; 
and, certainly, a more rascally looking place I never set my eyes 
on. I wished to avoid it, but could get along no other way. 
All along here the land is a whitish stiff loam upon a bed of soft 

B 6 3 8 

i 8 Rural Rides 

stone, which is found at various distances from the surface, 
sometimes two feet and sometimes ten. Here and there a field 
is fenced with this stone, laid together in walls without mortar 
or earth. All the houses and out-houses are made of it, and 
even covered with the thinnest of it formed into tiles. The 
stiles in the fields are made of large flags of this stone, and the 
gaps in the hedges are stopped with them. There is very little 
wood all along here. The labourers seems miserably poor. 
Their dwellings are little better than pig-beds, and their looks 
indicate that their food is not nearly equal to that of a pig. 
Their wretched hovels are stuck upon little bits of ground on 
the road side, where the space has been wider than the road 
demanded. In many places they have not two rods to a hovel, 
It seems as if they had been swept off the fields by a hurricane, 
and had dropped and found shelter under the banks on the road 
side! Yesterday morning was a sharp frost; and this had set 
the poor creatures to digging up their little plats of potatoes. 
In my whole life I never saw human wretchedness equal to this : 
no, not even amongst the free negroes in America, who, on an 
average, do not work one day out of four. And this is " pros- 
perity," is it? These, O Pitt! are the fruits of thy hellish 
system! However, this Wiltshire is a horrible county. This 
is the county that the Gallon-loaf man belongs to. The land 
all along here is good. Fine fields and pastures all around ; and 
yet the cultivators of those fields so miserable! This is par- 
ticularly the case on both sides of Cricklade, and in it too, where 
everything had the air of the most deplorable want. They are 
sowing wheat all the way from the Wiltshire downs to Ciren- 
cester; though there is some wheat up. Winter vetches are up 
in some places, and look very well. The turnips of both kinds 
are good all along here. I met a farmer going with porkers to 
Highworth market. They would weigh, he said, four score and 
a half, and he expected to get 75. 6d. a score. I expect he will 
not. He said they had been fed on barley-meal ; but I did not 
believe him. I put it to his honour, whether whey and beans 
had not been their food. He looked surly, and pushed on.- 
On this stiff ground, they grow a good many beans, and give 
them to the pigs with whey; which makes excellent pork for 
the Londoners ; but which must meet with a pretty hungry 
stomach to swallow it in Hampshire. The hogs, all the way 
that I have come, from Buckinghamshire, are without a single 
exception that I have seen, the old-fashioned black-spotted 
hogs. Mr. Blount at Uphusband has one, which now weighs 

Gloucester 1 9 

about thirty score, and will possibly weigh forty, for she moves 
about very easily yet. This is the weight of a good ox; and yet, 
what a little thing it is compared to an ox ! Between Cricklade 
and this place (Cirencester) I met, in separate droves, about 
two thousand Welsh cattle, on their way from Pembrokeshire 
to the fairs in Sussex. The greater part of them were heifers 
in calf. They were purchased in Wales at from 3 to 4 105. 
each! None of them, the drovers told me reached 5. These 
heifers used to fetch, at home, from 6 to 8, and sometimes 
more. Many of the things that I saw in these droves did not 
fetch, in Wales, 255. And they go to no rising market ! Now, 
is there a man in his senses who believes that this THING can go 
on in the present way? However, a fine thing, indeed, is this 
fall of prices! My " cottager " will easily get his cow, and a 
young cow too, for less than the 5 that I talked of. These 
Welsh heifers will calve about May; and they are just the very 
thing for a cottager. 

Thursday (morning), Nov. 8. 

In leaving Cirencester, which is a pretty large town, a pretty 
nice town, and which the people call Cititer, I came up hill into 
a country, apparently formerly a down or common, but now 
divided into large fields by stone walls. Anything so ugly I 
have never seen before. The stone, which, on the other side 
of Cirencester, lay a good way under ground, here lies very near 
to the surface. The plough is continually bringing it up, and 
thus, in general, come the means of making the walls that serve 
as fences. Anything quite so cheerless as this I do not recollect 
to have seen; for the Bagshot country, and the commons 
between Farnham and Haselemere, have heath at any rate; 
but these stones are quite abominable. The turnips are not a 
fiftieth of a crop like those of Mr. Clarke at Bergh-Apton in 
Norfolk, or Mr. Pym at Reygate in Surrey, or of Mr. Brazier at 
Worth in Sussex. I see thirty acres here that have less food 
upon them than I saw the other day, upon half an acre at Mr. 
Budd's at Berghclere. Can it be good farming to plough and 
sow and hoe thirty acres to get what may be got upon half an 
acre? Can that half acre cost more than a tenth part as much 
as the thirty acres? But, if I were to go to this thirty-acre 
farmer, and tell him what to do to the half acre, would he not 
exclaim with the farmer at Botley: "What! drow away all 
that 'ere ground between the lains ! Jod's blood ! " With 

2O Rural Rides 

the exception of a little dell about eight miles from Cititer, this 
miserable country continued to the distance of ten miles, when, 
all of a sudden, I looked down from the top of a high hill into 
the vale of Gloucester I Never was there, surely, such a contrast 
in this world ! This hill is called Burlip Hill ; it is much about a 
mile down it, and the descent so steep as to require the wheel of 
the chaise to be locked; and, even with that precaution, I did not 
think it over and above safe to sit in the chaise; so, upon Sir 
Robert Wilson's principle of taking care of Number One, I got 
out and walked down. From this hill you see the Morvan Hills 
in Wales. You look down into a sort of dish with a flat bottom, 
the Hills are the sides of the dish, and the City of Gloucester, 
which you plainly see, at seven miles distance from Burlip Hill, 
appears to be not far from the centre of the dish. All here is 
fine; fine farms; fine pastures; all inclosed fields; all divided 
by hedges; orchards a plenty; and I had scarcely seen one 
apple since I left Berkshire. Gloucester is a fine, clean, beauti- 
ful place; and, which is of a vast deal more importance, the 
labourer's dwellings, as I came along, looked good, and the 
labourers themselves pretty well as to dress and healthiness. 
The girls at work in the fields (always my standard) are not in 
rags, with bits of shoes tied on their feet and rags tied round 
their ankles, as they had in Wiltshire. 



Friday, 9 Nov. 1821. 

I GOT to this beautiful place (Mr. William Palmer's) yesterday, 
from Gloucester. This is in the parish of Weston, two miles on 
the Gloucester side of Ross, and, if not the first, nearly the first, 
parish in Herefordshire upon leaving Gloucester to go on through 
Ross to Hereford. On quitting Gloucester I crossed the 
Severne, which had overflowed its banks and covered the 
meadows with water. The soil good but stiff. The coppices 
and woods very much like those upon the clays in the south of 
Hampshire and in Sussex; but the land better for corn and 
grass. The goodness of the land is shown by the apple-trees, 
and by the sort of sheep and cattle fed here. The sheep are a 
cross between the Ryland and Leicester, and the cattle of the 
Herefordshire kind. These would starve in the pastures of any 
part of Hampshire or Sussex that I have ever seen. At about 
seven miles from Gloucester I came to hills, and the land changed 
from the whitish soil, which I had hitherto seen, to a red brown, 
with layers of flat stone of a reddish cast under it. Thus it con- 
tinued to Bollitree. The trees of all kinds are very fine on the 
hills as well as in the bottoms. The spot where I now am is 
peculiarly well situated in all respects. The land very rich, the 
pastures the finest I ever saw, the trees of all kinds surpassing 
upon an average any that I have before seen in England. From 
the house, you see, in front and winding round to the left, a 
lofty hill, called Penyard Hill, at about a mile and a half distance, 
covered with oaks of the finest growth ; along at the foot of this 
wood are fields and orchards continuing the slope of the hill 
down for a considerable distance, and, as the ground lies in a 
sort of ridges from the wood to the foot of the slope, the hill-and- 
dell is very beautiful. One of these dells with the two adjoin- 
ing sides of hills is an orchard belonging to Mr. Palmer, and the 
trees, the ground, and everything belonging to it, put me in mind 

2 L 

22 Rural Rides 

of the most beautiful of the spots in the North of Long Island. 
Sheltered by a lofty wood; the grass fine beneath the fruit trees; 
the soil dry under foot though the rain had scarcely ceased to 
fall; no moss on the trees; the leaves of many of them yet 
green; everything brought my mind to the beautiful orchards 
near Bayside, Little Neck, Mosquito Cove, and Oyster Bay, in 
Long Island. No wonder that this is a country of cider and 
perry ; but what a shame it is, that here, at any rate, the 
owners and cultivators of the soil, not content with these, should, 
for mere fashion's sake, waste their substance on wine and spirits! 
They really deserve the contempt of mankind and the curses of 
their children. The woody hill mentioned before, winds away 
to the left, and carries the eye on to the Forest of Dean, from 
which it is divided by a narrow and very deep valley. Away 
to the right of Penyard Hill lies, in the bottom, at two miles 
distance, and on the bank of the river Wye, the town of Ross, 
over which we look down the vale to Monmouth and see the 
Welsh hills beyond it. Beneath Penyard Hill, and on one of 
the ridges before mentioned, is the parish church of Weston. 
with some pretty white cottages near it, peeping through the 
orchard and other trees ; and coming to the paddock before the 
house, are some of the largest and loftiest trees in the country, 
standing singly here and there, amongst which is the very 
largest and loftiest walnut-tree that I believe I ever saw, either 
in America or in England. In short, there wants nothing but 
the autumnal colours of the American trees to make this the 
most beautiful spot I ever beheld. I was much amused for an 
hour after daylight this morning in looking at the clouds, rising, 
at intervals, from the dells on the side of Penyard Hill, and flying 
to the top, and then over the hill. Some of the clouds went up 
in a roundish and compact form. Others rose in a sort of string 
or stream, the tops of them going over the hill before the bottoms 
were clear of the place whence they had arisen. Sometimes the 
clouds gathered themselves together along the top of the hill, 
and seemed to connect the topmost trees with the sky. I 
have been to-day to look at Mr. Palmer's fine crops of Swedish 
turnips, which are, in general, called "swedes" These crops 
having been raised according to my plan, I feel, of course, great 
interest in the matter. The swedes occupy two fields: one of 
thirteen, and one of seventeen acres. The main part of the 
seventeen acre field was drilled, on ridges, four feet apart, a 
single row on a ridge, at different times, between i6th April and 
May. An acre and a half of this piece was transplanted on 

Bollitree 27 


four-feet ridges 3oth July. About half an acre across the middle 
of the field was sown broad-cast i4th April. In the thirteen-acre 
field there is about half an acre sown broad-cast on the ist of 
June; the rest of the field was transplanted; part in the first 
week of June, part in the last week of June, part from the i2th 
to i8th of July, and the rest (about three acres) from 2ist to 
23rd July. The drilled swedes in the seventeen-acre field, 
contain full 23 tons to the acre; the transplanted ones in that 
field, 15 tons, and the broad-cast not exceeding 10 tons. Those 
in the thirteen-acre field which were transplanted before the 2ist 
July, contain 27 if not 30 tons; and the rest of that field about 
17 tons to the acre. The broad-cast piece here (half an acre) 
may contain 7 tons. The shortness of my time will prevent us 
from ascertaining the weight by actual weighings; but, such is 
the crop, according to the best of my judgment, after a very 
minute survey of it in every part of each field. Now, here is a 
little short of 800 tons of food, about the fifth part of which 
consists of tops ; and, of course, there is about 640 tons of bulb. 
As to the value and uses of this prodigious crop I need say 
nothing; and as to the time and manner of sowing and raising 
the plants for transplanting, the act of transplanting, and the 
after cultivation, Mr. Palmer has followed the directions con- 
tained in my Year's Residence in America ; and, indeed, he 
is forward to acknowledge, that he had never thought of this 
mode of culture, which he has followed now for three years, and 
which he has found so advantageous, until he read that work, 
a work which the Farmer's Journal thought proper to treat as 
a romance. Mr. Palmer has had some cabbages of the large, 
drum-head, kind. He had about three acres, in rows at four 
feet apart, and at little less than three feet apart in the rows, 
making ten thousand cabbages on the three acres. He kept 
ninety-five wethers and ninety-six ewes (large fatting sheep) 
upon them for five weeks all but two days, ending in the first 
week of November. The sheep, which are now feeding off 
yellow turnips in an adjoining part of the same field, come back 
over the cabbage-ground and scoop out the stumps almost to the 
ground in many cases. This ground is going to be ploughed 
for wheat immediately. Cabbages are a very fine autumn crop ; 
but it is the swedes on which you must rely for the spring, and 
on housed or stacked swedes too; for they will rot in many of 
our winters, if left in the ground. I have had them rot myself, 
and I saw, in March 1820, hundreds of acres rotten in Warwick- 
shire and Northamptonshire. Mr. Palmer greatly prefers the 

24 Rural Rides 

transplanting to the drilling. It has numerous advantages over 
the drilling; greater regularity of crop, greater certainty, the 
only sure way of avoiding the J7y, greater crop, admitting of two 
months laicr preparation of land, can come after vetches cut up 
for horses (as, indeed, a part of Mr. Palmer's transplanted swedes 
did), and requiring less labour and expense. I asserted this in 
my Year's Residence; and Mr. Palmer, who has been very 
particular in ascertaining the fact, states positively, that the 
expense of transplanting is not so great as the hoeing and setting 
out of the drilled crops, and not so great as the common hoeings 
of broad-cast. This, I think, settles the question. But the 
advantages of the wide-row culture by no means confine them- 
selves to the green and root crop; for Mr. Palmer drills his 
wheat upon the same ridges, without ploughing, after he has 
taken off the swedes. He drills it at eight inches, and puts in 
from eight to ten gallons to the acre. His crop of 1820, drilled 
in this way, averaged 40 bushels to the acre; part drilled in 
November, and part so late as February. It was the common 
Lammas wheat. His last crop of wheat is not yet ascertained; 
but it was better after the swedes than in any other of his land. 
His manner of taking off the crop is excellent. He first cuts off 
and carries away the tops. Then he has an implement, drawn by 
two oxen, walking on each side of the ridge, with which he cuts 
off the tap root of the swedes without disturbing the land of the 
ridge. Any child can then pull up the bulb. Thus the ground, 
clean as a garden, and in that compact state which the wheat is 
well known to like, is ready, at once, for drilling with wheat. 
As to the uses to which he applies the crop, tops as well as bulbs, 
I must speak of these hereafter, and in a work of a description 
different from this. I have been thus particular here, because 
the Farmer's Journal treated my book as a pack of lies. I 
know that my (for it is mine} system of cattle-food husbandry 
will finally be that of all England, as it already is that of America; 
but what I am doing here is merely in self-defence against 
the slanders, the malignant slanders, of the Farmer s Journal. 
Where is a Whig lord, who, some years ago, wrote to a gentleman, 
that " he would have nothing to do with any reform that Cobbett 
was engaged in? ' But, in spite of the brutal Journal, farmers 
are not such fools as this lord was: they will not reject a good 
crop, because they can have it only by acting upon my plan; 
and this lord will, I imagine, yet see the day when he will be less 
averse from having to do with a reform in which " Cobbett " 
shall be engaged. 

Bollitree 25 


Saturday night, Nov. 10. 

Went to Hereford this morning. It was market-day. My 
arrival became known, and, I am sure, I cannot tell how. A 
sort of buz got about. I could perceive here, as I always have 
elsewhere, very ardent friends and very bitter enemies; but all 
full of curiosity. One thing could not fail to please me exceed- 
ingly; my friends were gay and my enemies gloomy : the former 
smiled, and the latter, in endeavouring to screw their features 
into a sneer, could get them no further than the half sour and 
half sad: the former seemed, in their looks to say, " Here he 

is," and the latter to respond, " Yes, G d him ! ' I went 

into the market-place, amongst the farmers, with whom, in 
general, I was very much pleased. If I were to live in the 
county two months, I should be acquainted with every man of 
them. The country is very fine all the way from Ross to Here- 
ford. The soil is always a red loam upon a bed of stone. The 
trees are very fine, and certainly winter comes later here than in 
Middlesex. Some of the oak trees are still perfectly green, and 
many of the ashes as green as in September. In coming from 
Hereford to this place, which is the residence of Mrs. Palmer 
and that of her two younger sons, Messrs. Philip and Walter 
Palmer, who, with their brother, had accompanied me to Here- 
ford; in coming to this place, which lies at about two miles 
distance from the great road, and at about an equal distance 
from Hereford and from Ross, we met with something, the 
sight of which pleased me exceedingly: it was that of a very 
pretty pleasant-looking lady (and young too) with two beautiful 
children, riding in a little sort of chaise-cart, drawn by an ass, 
which she was driving in reins. She appeared to be well known 
to my friends, who drew up and spoke to her, calling her Mrs. 
Lock, or Locky (I hope it was not Lockart) or some such name. 
Her husband, who is, I suppose, some young farmer of the neigh- 
bourhood, may well call himself Mr. Lucky ; for to have such 
a wife, and for such a wife to have the good sense to put up 
with an ass-cart, in order to avoid, as much as possible, feeding 
those cormorants who gorge on the taxes, is a blessing that falls, 
I am afraid, to the lot of very few rich farmers. Mrs. Lock 
(if that be her name) is a real practical radical. Others of us 
resort to radical coffee and radical tea; and she has a radical 
carriage. This is a very effectual way of assailing the THING, 
and peculiarly well suited lor the practice of the female sex. 

* B 6 3 8 

26 Rural Rides 

But the self-denial ought not to be imposed on the wife only: 
the husband ought to set the example: and, let me hope, that 
Mr. Lock does not indulge in the use of wine and spirits, while 
Mrs. Lock and her children ride in a jack-ass gig; for, if he do, 
he wastes, in this way, the means of keeping her a chariot and 
pair. If there be to be any expense not absolutely necessary; 
if there be to be anything bordering on extravagance, surely it 
ought to be for the pleasure of that part of the family, who have 
the least number of objects of enjoyment; and for a husband 
to indulge himself in the guzzling of expensive, unnecessary, and 
really injurious drink, to the tune, perhaps, of 50 or 100 pounds 
a year, while he preaches economy to his wife, and, with a face 
as long as my arm, talks of the low price of corn, and wheedles 
her out of a curricle into a jack-ass cart, is not only unjust but 


Sunday night, n November. 

We have ridden to-day, though in the rain for a great part of 
the time, over the fine farm of Mr. Philip Palmer, at this place, 
and that of Mr. Walter Palmer, in the adjoining parish of 
Pencoyd. Everything here is good, arable land, pastures, 
orchards, coppices, and timber trees, especially the elms, many 
scores of which approach nearly to a hundred feet in height. 
Mr. Philip Palmer has four acres of swedes on four-feet ridges, 
drilled on the nth and i4th of May. The plants were very 
much injured by the fly ; so much, that it was a question, 
whether the whole piece ought not to be ploughed up. How- 
ever, the gaps in the rows were filled up by transplanting; and 
the ground was twice ploughed between the ridges. The crop 
here is very fine; and I should think that its weight could not 
be less than 17 tons to the acre. Of Mr. Walter Palmer's swedes, 
five acres were drilled, on ridges nearly four feet apart, on the 
3rd of June; four acres on the i5th of June; and an acre and 
a half transplanted (after vetches) on the fifteenth of August. 
The weight of the first is about twenty tons to the acre; that of 
the second not much less; and that of the last even, five or six 
tons. The first two pieces were mauled to pieces by the fly : 
but the gaps were filled up by transplanting, the ground being 
digged on the tops of the ridges to receive the plants. So that, 
perhaps, a third part, or more of the crop is due to the trans- 
planting. As to the last piece, that transplanted on the i5th 
of August, after vetches, it is clear, that there could have been 

Bollitree 27 

no crop without transplanting; and, after all, the crop is by no 
means a bad one. It is clear enough to me, that this system 
will finally prevail all over England. The " loyal," indeed, may 
be afraid to adopt it, lest it should contain something of 
"radicalism." Sap-headed fools! They will find something 
to do, I believe, soon, besides railing against radicals. We will 
din " radical " and " national faith " in their ears, till they shall 
dread the din as much as a dog does the sound of the bell that 
is tied to the whip, 

Monday, 12 Nov. 

Returned this morning and rode about the farm, and also 
about that of Mr. Winnal, where I saw, for the first time, a 
plough going without being held. The man drove the three 
horses that drew the plough, and carried the plough round at 
the ends; but left it to itself the rest of the time. There was 
a skim coulter that turned the sward in under the furrow; and 
the work was done very neatly. This gentleman has six acres 
of cabbages, on ridges four feet apart, with a distance of thirty 
inches between the plants on the ridge. He has weighed one 
of what he deemed an average weight, and found it to weigh 
fifteen pounds without the stump. Now, as there are 4320 upon 
an acre, the weight of the acres is thirty tons all but 400 pounds ! 
This is a prodigious crop, and it is peculiarly well suited for 
food for sheep at this season of the year. Indeed it is good 
for any farm-stock, oxen, cows, pigs: all like these loaved 
cabbages. For hogs in yard, after the stubbles are gone; and 
before the tops of the swedes come in. What masses of manure 
may be created by this means! But, above all things, for 
sheep to feed off upon the ground. Common turnips have not 
half the substance in them weight for weight. Then they are 
in the ground; they are dirty, and, in wet weather, the sheep 
must starve, or eat a great deal of dirt. This very day, for 
instance, what a sorry sight is a flock of fatting sheep upon 
turnips ; what a mess of dirt and stubble ! The cabbage stands 
boldly up above the ground, and the sheep eats it all up without 
treading a morsel in the dirt. Mr. Winnal has a large flock of 
sheep feeding on his cabbages, which they will have finished, 
perhaps, by January. This gentleman also has some " radical 
swedes," as they call them in Norfolk. A part of his crop is 
on ridges five feet apart with two rows on the ridge, a part on 
four feet ridges with one row on the ridge. I cannot see that 

28 Rural Rides 

anything is gained in weight by the double rows. I think that 
there may be nearly twenty tons to the acre. Another piece 
Mr. Winnal transplanted after vetches. They are very fine; 
and, altogether, he has a crop that any one but a " loyal " farmer 
might envy him. This is really the radical system of husbandry. 
Radical means, belonging to the root ; going to the root. And the 
main principle of this system (first taught by Tull) is, that the 
root of the plant is to be fed by deep tillage, while it is grow- 
ing; and to do this we must have our wide distances. Our 
system of husbandry is happily illustrative of our system of 
politics. Our lines of movement are fair and straightforward. 
We destroy all weeds, which, like tax-eaters, do nothing but 
devour the sustenance that ought to feed the valuable plants. 
Our plants are all well fed ; and our nations of swedes and of 
cabbages present a happy uniformity of enjoyments and of bulk, 
and not, as in the broad-cast system of Corruption, here and 
there one of enormous size, surrounded by thousands of poor 
little starveling things, scarcely distinguishable by the keenest 
eye, or, if seen, seen only to inspire a contempt of the husband- 
man. The Norfolk boys are, therefore, right in calling their 
swedes Radical Swedes. 

Tuesday, 13 Nov. 

Rode to-day to see a grove belonging to Mrs. Westphalin, 
which contains the very finest trees, oaks, chestnuts, and ashes, 
that I ever saw in England. This grove is worth going from 
London to Weston to see. The lady, who is very much beloved 
in her neighbourhood, is, apparently, of the old school ; and her 
house and gardens, situated in a beautiful dell, form, I think, 
the most comfortable looking thing of the kind that I ever saw. 
If she had known that I was in her grove, I dare say she wculd 
have expected it to blaze up in flames; or, at least, that I was 
come to view the premises previous to confiscation! I can 
forgive persons like her; but I cannot forgive the parsons and 
others who have misled them! Mrs. Westphalin, if she live 
many years, will find, that the best friends of the owners of the 
land are those who have endeavoured to produce such a reform 
of the Parliament as would have prevented the ruin of tenants. 
This parish of Weston is remarkable for having a rector, 
who has constantly resided for twenty years I I do not believe 
that there is an instance to match this in the whole kingdom. 
However, the "reverend' gentlemen may be assured, that^ 

Bollitree 29 

before many years have passed over their heads, they will be 
very glad to reside in their parsonage houses. 

Wednesday, 14 Nov. 

Rode to the Forest of Dean, up a very steep hill. The lanes 
here are between high banks, and, on the sides of the hills, the 
road is a rock, the water having, long ago, washed all the earth 
away. Pretty works are, I find, carried on here, as is the case 
in all the other public forests I Are these things always to be 
carried on in this way? Here is a domain of thirty thousand 
acres of the finest timber-land in the world, and with coal- 
mines endless ! Is this worth nothing ? Cannot each acre yield 
ten trees a year? Are not these trees worth a pound a piece? 
Is not the estate worth three or four hundred thousand pounds 
a year? And does it yield anything to the public, to whom it 
belongs? But it is useless to waste one's breath in this way. 
We must have a reform of the Parliament : without it the whole 
thing will fall to pieces. The only good purpose that these 
forests answer is that of furnishing a place of being to labourers' 
families on their skirts; and here their cottages are very neat, 
and the people look hearty and well, just as they do round the 
forests in Hampshire. Every cottage has a pig, or two. These 
graze in the forest, and, in the fall, eat acorns and beech-nuts 
and the seed of the ash; for, these last, as well as the others, 
are very full of oil, and a pig that is put to his shifts will pick 
the seed very nicely out from the husks. Some of these 
foresters keep cows, and all of them have bits of ground, cribbed, 
of course, at different times, from the forest: and to what 
better use can the ground be put? I saw several wheat stubbles 
from 40 rods to 10 rods. I asked one man how much wheat 
he had from about 10 rods. He said more than two bushels. 
Here is bread for three weeks, or more, perhaps; and a winter's 
straw for the pig besides. Are these things nothing ? The dead 
limbs and old roots of the forest give fuel ; and how happy are 
these people, compared with the poor creatures about Great 
Bedwin and Cricklade, where they have neither land nor shelter, 
and where I saw the girls carrying home bean and wheat stubble 
for fuel! Those countries, always but badly furnished with 
fuel, the desolating and damnable system of paper-money, by 
sweeping away small homesteads, and laying ten farms into one, 
has literally stripped of all shelter for the labourer. A farmer, 

30 Rural Rides 

in such cases, has a whole domain in his hands, and this, not 
only to the manifest injury of the public at large, but in open 
violation of positive law. The poor forger is hanged; but where 
is the prosecutor of the monopolising farmer, though the law 
is as clear in the one case as in the other? But it required 
this infernal system to render every wholesome regulation 
nugatory; and to reduce to such abject misery a people famed 
in all ages for the goodness of their food and their dress. There 
is one farmer, in the North of Hampshire, who has nearly eight 
thousand acres of land in his hands; who grows fourteen hundred 
acres of wheat and two thousand acres of barley ! He occupies 
what was formerly 40 farms! Is it any wonder that paupers 
increase ? And is there not here cause enough for the increase 
of poor, without resorting to the doctrine of the barbarous and 
impious Malthus and his assistants, the fee losofers of the Edin- 
burgh Review, those eulogists and understrappers of the Whig- 
Oligarchy? "This farmer has done nothing unlawful" some 
one will say. I say he has; for there is a law to forbid him 
thus to monopolise land. But no matter; the laws, the manage- 
ment of the affairs of a nation, ought to be such as to prevent the 
existence of the temptation to such monopoly. And, even now, the 
evil ought to be remedied, and could be remedied, in the space 
of half a dozen years. The disappearance of the paper-money 
would do the thing in time; but this might be assisted by 
legislative measures. In returning from the forest we were 
overtaken by my son, whom I had begged to come from London 
to see this beautiful country. On the road-side we saw two 
lazy-looking fellows, in long great coats and bundles in their 
hands, going into a cottage. " What do you deal in? " said I, 
to one of them, who had not yet entered the house. ' In the 
medical way," said he. And, I find, that vagabonds of this 
description are seen all over the country with tea-licences in their 
pockets. They vend tea, drugs, and religious tracts. The first 
to bring the body into a debilitated state; the second to finish 
the corporeal part of the business; and the third to prepare 
the spirit for its separation from the clay ! Never was a system 
so well calculated as the present to degrade, debase, and enslave 
a people! Law, and, as if that were not sufficient, enormous 
subscriptions are made; everything that can be done is done 
to favour these perambulatory impostors in their depredations 
on the ignorant. While everything that can be done is done, 
to prevent them from reading, or from hearing of, anything that 
has a tendency to give them rational notions, or to better their 

Ross 3 r 

lot. However, all is not buried in ignorance. Down the deep 
and beautiful valley between Penyard Hill and the hills on the 
side of the Forest of Dean, there runs a stream of water. On 
that stream of water there is a paper-mill. In that paper-mill 
there is a set of workmen. That set of workmen do, I am told, 
take the Register, and have taken it for years ! It was to these 
good and sensible men, it is supposed, that the ringing of the 
bells of Weston church, upon my arrival, was to be ascribed; 
for nobody that I visited had any knowledge of the cause. 
What a subject for lamentation with corrupt hypocrites ! That 
even on this secluded spot there should be a leaven of common 
sense ! No : all is not enveloped in brute ignorance yet, in spite 
of every artifice that hellish Corruption has been able to employ; 
in spite of all her menaces and all her brutalities and cruelties. 


Thursday, 15 Nov. 

We came this morning from Bollitree to Ross-Market, and, 
thence, to this place. Ross is an old-fashioned town; but it is 
very beautifully situated, and if there is little of finery in the 
appearance of the inhabitants, there is also little of misery. 
It is a good, plain country town, or settlement of tradesmen, 
whose business is that of supplying the wants of the cultivators 
of the soil. It presents to us nothing of rascality and roguish- 
ness of look, which you see on almost every visage in the 
borough-towns, not excepting the visages of the women. I can 
tell a borough-town from another upon my entrance into it by 
the nasty, cunning, leering, designing look of the people; a look 
between that of a bad (for some are good) Methodist parson 
and that of a pickpocket. I remember, and I never shall forget, 
the horrid looks of the villains in Devonshire and Cornwall. 
Some people say, " O, poor fellows 1 It is not their fault." 
No ? Whose fault is it, then ? The miscreants who bribe them ? 
True, that these deserve the halter (and some of them may have 
it yet); but are not the takers of the bribes equally guilty? 
If we be so very lenient here, pray let us ascribe to the Devil 
all the acts of thieves and robbers: so we do; but we hang the 
thieves and robbers, nevertheless. It is no very unprovoking 
reflection, that from these sinks of atrocious villainy come a 
very considerable part of the men to fill places of emolument 
and trust. What a clog upon a minister to have people, bred 
in such scenes, forced upon him! And why does this curse 

32 Rural Rides 

continue? However, its natural consequences are before us; 
and are coming on pretty fast upon each other's heels. There 
are the landlords and farmers in a state of absolute ruin: there 
is the debt, pulling the nation down like as a stone pulls a dog 
under water. The system seems to have fairly wound itself up; 
to have tied itself hand and foot with cords of its own spinning ! 
This is the town to which Pope has given an interest in our 
minds by his eulogium on the " Man of Ross " a portrait of whom 
is hanging up in the house in which I now am. The market at 
Ross was very dull. No wheat in demand. No buyers. It 
must come down. Lord Liverpool's remedy, a bad harvest, has 
assuredly failed. Fowls 2S. a couple; a goose from 2s. 6d. to 
35.; a turkey from 35. to 35. 6d. Let a turkey come down to 
a shilling, as in France, and then we shall soon be to rights. 

Friday, 16 Nov. 

A whole day most delightfully passed a hare-hunting, with 
a pretty pack of hounds kept here by Messrs. Palmer. They 
put me upon a horse that seemed to have been made on purpose 
for me, strong, tall, gentle and bold; and that carried me either 
over or through everything. I, who am just the weight of a 
four-bushel sack of good wheat, actually sat on his back from 
daylight in the morning to dusk (about nine hours), without 
once setting my foot on the ground. Our ground was at Orcop, 
a place about four miles distance from this place. We found a 
hare in a few minutes after throwing off; and in the course of 
the day, we had to find four, and were never more than ten 
minutes in finding. A steep and naked ridge, lying between 
two flat valleys, having a mixture of pretty large fields and small 
woods, formed our ground. The hares crossed the ridge forward 
and backward, and gave us numerous views and very fine sport. 
I never rode on such steep ground before; and, really, in 
going up and down some of the craggy places, where the rains 
had washed the earth from the rocks, I did think, once or twice, 
of my neck, and how Sidmouth would like to see me. As to the 
cruelty, as some pretend, of this sport, that point I have, I think, 
settled, in one of the chapters of my Year's Residence in America. 
As to the expense, a pack, even a full pack of harriers, like this, 
costs less than two bottles of wine a day with their inseparable 
concomitants. And as to the time thus spent, hunting is in- 
separable from early rising ; and with habits of early rising, 
who ever wanted time for any business? 

Oxford 3 3 


Saturday, 17 Nov. 

We left Old Hall (where we always breakfasted by candle- 
light) this morning after breakfast; returned to Bollitree; took 
the Hereford coach as it passed about noon; and came in it 
through Gloucester, Cheltenham, Northleach, Burford, Whitney, 
and on to this city, where we arrived about ten o'clock. I 
could not leave Herefordshire without bringing with me the 
most pleasing impressions. It is not for one to descend to 
particulars in characterising one's personal friends; and, there- 
fore, I will content myself with saying, that the treatment I met 
with in this beautiful county, where I saw not one single face 
that I had, to my knowledge, ever seen before, was much more 
than sufficient to compensate to me, personally, for all the 
atrocious calumnies, which, for twenty years, I have had to 
endure; but where is my country, a great part of the present 
hideous sufferings of which, will, by every reflecting mind, be 
easily traced to these calumnies, which have been made the 
ground, or pretext, for rejecting that counsel by listening to 
which those sufferings would have been prevented; where is 
my country to find a compensation! At Gloucester (as there 
were no meals on the road) we furnished ourselves with nuts and 
apples, which, first a handful of nuts and then an apple, are, I 
can assure the reader, excellent and most wholesome fare. 
They say that nuts of all sorts are unwholesome; if they had 
been, I should never have written Registers, and if they were 
now, I should have ceased to write ere this; for, upon an 
average, I have eaten a pint a day since I left home. In short, 
I could be very well content to live on nuts, milk, and home- 
baked bread. From Gloucester to Cheltenham the country is 
level, and the land rich and good. The fields along here are 
ploughed in ridges about 20 feet wide, and the angle of this 
species of roof is pretty nearly as sharp as that of some slated 
roofs of houses. There is no wet under; it is the top wet only 
that they aim at keeping from doing mischief. Cheltenham is 
a nasty, ill-looking place, half clown and half cockney. The 
town is one street about a mile long; but then, at some distance 
from this street, there are rows of white tenements, with green 
balconies, like those inhabited by the tax-eaters round London. 
Indeed, this place appears to be the residence of an assemblage 
of tax-eaters. These vermin shift about between London, 
Cheltenham, Bath, Bognor, Brighton, Tunbridge, Rams^ate, 

34 Rural Rides 

Margate, Worthing, and other spots in England, while some of 
them get over to France and Italy: just like those body-vermin 
of different sorts, that are found in different parts of the 
tormented carcasses at different hours of the day and night, and 
in different degrees of heat and cold. 

Cheltenham is at the foot of a part of that chain of hills, 
which form the sides of that dish which I described as resembling 
the vale of Gloucester. Soon after quitting this resort of the 
lame and the lazy, the gormandising and guzzling, the bilious 
and the nervous, we proceeded on, between stone walls, over a 
country little better than that from Cirencester to Burlip-hilL 
A very poor, dull, and uninteresting country all the way to 


Sunday, 18 Nov. 

We left Oxford early, and went on, through Abingdon (Berks) 
to Market-llsley. It is a saying, hereabouts, that, at Oxford, 
they make the living pay for the dead, which is precisely accord- 
ing to the Pitt-System. Having smarted on this account, we 
were afraid to eat again at an inn; so we pushed on through 
Ilsley towards Newbury, breakfasting upon the residue of the 
nuts, aided by a new supply of apples bought from a poor man, 
who exhibited them in his window. Inspired, like Don Quixote, 
by the sight of the nuts, and recollecting the last night's bill, I 
exclaimed: "Happy! thrice happy and blessed, that golden 
age, when men lived on the simple fruits of the earth and slaked 
their thirst at the pure and limpid brook ! when the trees shed 
their leaves to form a couch for their repose, and cast their bark 
to furnish them with a canopy ! Happy age ; when no Oxford 
landlord charged two men, who had dropped into a common 
coach-passenger room, and who had swallowed three penny- 
worths of food, ' four shillings for teas,' and ' eighteen pence for 
cold meat,' ' two shillings for moulds and fire ' in this common 
coach-room, and ' five shillings for beds I ' This was a sort 
of grace before meat to the nuts and apples; and it had much 
more merit than the harangue of Don Quixote; for he, before he 
began upon the nuts, had stuffed himself well with goat's flesh 
and wine, whereas we had absolutely fed from the breakfast- 
table and blazing fire at Oxford. Upon beholding the masses 
of buildings, at Oxford, devoted to what they call " learning," 
I could not help reflecting on the drones that they contain and 
the wasps they send forth! However, malignant as some are, 

Burghclere 35 

tne great and prevalent characteristic is folly : emptiness of 
head; want of talent; and one half of the fellows who are what 
they call educated here, are unfit to be clerks in a grocer's or 
mercer's shop. As I looked up at what they call University 
Hall, I could not help reflecting that what I had written, even 
since I left Kensington on the 2Qth of October, would produce 
more effect, and do more good in the world, than all that had, 
for a hundred years, been written by all the members of this 
University, who devour, perhaps, not less than a million pounds 
a year, arising from property, completely at the disposal of the 
" Great Council of the Nation; " and I could not help exclaiming 
to myself: " Stand forth, ye big-wigged, ye gloriously feeding 
Doctors! Stand forth, ye rich of that church whose poor have 
had given them a hundred thousand pounds a year, not out of 
your riches, but out of the taxes, raised, in part, from the salt 
of the labouring man! Stand forth and face me, who have, 
from the pen of my leisure hours, sent, amongst your flocks, a 
hundred thousand sermons in ten months ! More than you have 
all done for the last half century!' I exclaimed in vain. 
I dare say (for it was at peep of day) that not a man of them 
had yet endeavoured to unclose his eyes. In coming through 
Abingdon (Berks) I could not help thinking of that great 
financier, Mr. John Maberly, by whom this place has, I believe, 
the honour to be represented in the Collective Wisdom of the 
Nation. In the way to Ilsley we came across a part of that 
fine tract of land, called the Vale of Berkshire, where they grow 
wheat and beans, one after another, for many years together. 
About three miles before we reached Ilsley we came to downs, 
with, as is always the case, chalk under. Between Ilsley and 
Newbury the country is enclosed; the land middling, a stony 
loam; the woods and coppices frequent, and neither very good 
till we came within a short distance of Newbury. In going 
along we saw a piece of wheat with cabbage-leaves laid all over 
it at the distance, perhaps, of eight or ten feet from each other. 
It was to catch the slugs. The slugs, which commit their 
depredations in the night, creep under the leaves in the morning, 
and by turning up the leaves you come at the slugs, and crush 
them, or carry them away. But besides the immense daily 
labour attending this, the slug, in a field sowed with wheat, has 
a clod to creep under at every foot, and will not go five feet to 
get under a cabbage-leaf. Then again, if the day be wet, the slug 
works by day as well as by night. It is the sun and drought that 
he shuns, and not the light. Therefore the only effectual way 

Rural Rides 

to destroy slugs is, to sow lime, in dust, and not staked. The 
slug is wet, he has hardly any skin, his slime is his covering; 
the smallest dust of hot lime kills him; and a few bushels to 
the acre are sufficient. You must sow the lime at dusk ; for 
then the slugs are sure to be out. Slugs come after a crop that 
has long afforded a great deal of shelter from the sun; such as 
peas and vetches. In gardens they are nursed up by strawberry 
beds, and by weeds; by asparagus beds; or by any thing that 
remains for a long time to keep the summer-sun from the earth. 
We got about three o'clock to this nice, snug little farm-house, 
and found our host, Mr. Budd, at home. 

Monday, 19 Nov. 

A thorough wet day, the only day the greater part of which 
I have not spent out of doors, since I left home. 

Tuesday, 20 Nov. 

With Mr. Budd, we rode to-day to see the Farm of Tull, 
at Shalborne, in Berkshire. Mr. Budd did the same thing 
with Arthur Young twenty-seven years ago. It was a sort of 
pilgrimage : but, as the distance was ten miles, we thought it 
best to perform it on horseback. We passed through the parish 
of Highdere, where they have enclosed commons, worth, as 
tillage land, not one single farthing an acre, and never will and 
never can be. As a common it afforded a little picking for 
geese and asses, and, in the moory parts of it, a little fuel for 
the labourers. But now it really can afford nothing. It will 
all fall to common again by degrees. This madness, this blind 
eagerness to gain, is now, I hope, pretty nearly over. At 
East Woody, we passed the house of a Mr. Goddard, which is 
uninhabited, he residing at Bath. At West Woody (Berks) is 
the estate of Mr. Sloper, a very pretty place. A beautiful sport- 
ing country. Large fields, small woods, dry soil. W T hat has 
taken place here is an instance of the workings of the system. 
Here is a large gentleman's house. But the proprietor lets it 
(it is, just now, empty), and resides in a farm house and farms 
his own estate. Happy is the landlord, who has the good sense 
to do this in time. This is a fine farm, and here appears to be 
very judicious farming. Large tracts of turnips; clean land; 
stubbles ploughed up early; ploughing with oxen; and a very 

Burghclere 37 

large and singularly fine flock of sheep. Everything that you 
see, land, stock, implements, fences, buildings; all do credit to 
the owner; bespeak his sound judgment, his industry and care. 
All that is wanted here is, the radical husbandry ; because that 
would enable the owner to keep three times the quantity of 
stock. However, since I left home, I have seen but very few 
farms that I should prefer to that of Mr. Sloper, whom I have 
not the pleasure to know, and whom, indeed, I never heard of 
till I saw his farm. At a village (certainly named by some 
author) called Inkpen, we passed a neat little house and paddock, 
the residence of a Mr. Butler, a nephew of Dr. Butler, who died 
Bishop of Oxford, and whom I can remember hearing preach 
at Farnham in Surrey, when I was a very, very little boy. I 
have his features and his wig as clearly in my recollection as if 
I had seen them but yesterday; and, I dare say, I have not 
thought of Doctor Butler for forty years before to-day. The 
" loyal " (oh, the pious gang !) will say, that my memory is good 
as to the face and wig, but bad as to the doctor's sermons. Why 
I must confess that I have no recollection of them; but, then, 
do I not make sermons myself ? At about two miles from Inkpen 
we came to the end of our pilgrimage. The farm, which was 
Mr. TulVs ; where he used the first drill that ever was used; 
where he practised his husbandry; where he wrote that book, 
which does so much honour to his memory, and to which the 
cultivators of England owe so much; this farm is on an open 
and somewhat bleak spot, in Berkshire, on the borders of 
Wiltshire, and within a very short distance of a part of Hamp- 
shire. The ground is a loam, mixed with flints, and has the 
chalk at no great distance beneath it. It is, therefore, free 
from wet ; needs no water furrows ; and is pretty good in its 
nature. The house, which has been improved by Mr. Blandy 
the present proprietor, is still but a plain farm-house. Mr. 
Blandy has lived here thirty years, and has brought up ten 
children to man's and woman's estate. Mr. Blandy was from 
home, but Mrs. Blandy received and entertained us in a very 
hospitable manner. We returned, not along the low land, but 
along the top of the downs, and through Lord Caernarvon's 
park, and got home after a very pleasant day. 


Wednesday, 21 Nov. 

We intended to have a hunt; but the fox-hounds came across 
and rendered it impracticable. As an instance of the change 

38 Rural Rides 

which rural customs have undergone since the hellish paper- 
system has been so furiously at work, I need only mention the 
fact, that, forty years ago, there were jfa><? packs of fox-hounds 
and ten packs of harriers kept within ten miles of Newbury; 
and that now there is one of the former (kept, too, by subscrip- 
tion) and none of the latter, except the few couple of dogs kept 
by Mr. Budd ! ' So much the better," says the shallow fool, 
who cannot duly estimate the difference between a resident 
native gentry, attached to the soil, known to every farmer and 
labourer from their childhood, frequently mixing with them in 
those pursuits where all artificial distinctions are lost, practising 
hospitality without ceremony, from habit and not on calculation ; 
and a gentry, only now-and-then residing at all, having no relish 
for country-delights, foreign in their manners, distant and 
haughty in their behaviour, looking to the soil only for its rents, 
viewing it as a mere object of speculation, unacquainted with 
its cultivators, despising them and their pursuits, and relying, 
for influence, not upon the good will of the vicinage, but upon 
the dread of their power. The war and paper-system has 
brought in nabobs, negro-drivers, generals, admirals, governors, 
commissaries, contractors, pensioners, sinecurists, commissioners, 
loan -jobbers, lottery -dealers, bankers, stock-jobbers; not to 
mention the long and black list in gowns and three-tailed wigs. 
You can see but few good houses not in possession of one or the 
other of these. These, with the parsons, are now the magis- 
trates. Some of the consequences are before us; but they have 
not all yet arrived. A taxation that sucks up fifty millions 
a year must produce a new set of proprietors every twenty years 
or less; and the proprietors, while they last, can be little better 
than tax-collectors to the government, and scourgers of the 
people. I must not quit Burghdere without noticing Mr. Budd's 
radical swedes and other things. His is but miniature farming: 
but it is very good, and very interesting. Some time in May. 
he drilled a piece of swedes on four feet ridges. The fly took 
them off. He had cabbage and mangel-wurzel plants to put 
in their stead. Unwilling to turn back the ridges, and thereby 
bring the dung to the top, he planted the cabbages and mangel- 
wurzel on the ridges where the swedes had been drilled. This 
was done in June. Late in July, his neighbour, a farmer 
Hulbert, had a field of swedes that he was hoeing. Mr. Budd 
now put some manure in the furrows between the ridges, and 
ploughed a furrow over it from each ridge. On this he planted 
swedes, taken from fanner Hulbert's field. Thus his plantation 

Burghclere 39 

consisted of rows of plants two feet apart. The result is a 
prodigious crop. Of the mangel-wurzel (greens and all) he has 
not less than twenty tons to the acre. He can scarcely have 
less of the cabbages, some of which are green savoys as fine as I 
ever saw. And of the swedes, many of which weigh from five 
to nine pounds, he certainly has more than twenty tons to the 
acre. So that here is a crop of, at the very least, forty tons to 
the acre. This piece is not much more than half an acre; but, 
he will, perhaps, not find so much cattle food upon any four 
acres in the county. He is, and long has been, feeding four 
milch cows, large, fine, and in fine condition, upon cabbages 
sometimes, and sometimes on mangel-wurzel leaves. The 
butter is excellent. Not the smallest degree of bitterness or 
bad taste of any sort. Fine colour and fine taste. And here, 
upon not three-quarters of an acre of ground, he has, if he manage 
the thing well, enough food for these four cows to the month of 
May ! Can any system of husbandry equal this ? What would 
he do with these cows, if he had not this crop? He could not 
keep one of them, except on hay. And he owes all this crop to 
transplanting. He thinks that the transplanting, fetching the 
swede plants and all, might cost him ten or twelve shillings. It 
was done by women, who had never done such a thing before. 
However, he must get in his crop before the hard weather 
comes; or my Lord Caernarvon's hares will help him. They 
have begun already; and, it is curious, that they have begun 
on the mangel-wurzel roots. So that hares, at any rate, have 
set the seal of merit upon this root. 

Thursday (night), 22 Nov. 

We have come round here, instead of going by Newbury, in 
consequence of a promise to Mr. Blount at Uphusband, that I 
would call on him on my return. We left Uphusband by lamp- 
light, and, of course, we could see little on our way. 

Friday, 23 Nov. 

Got home by the coach. At leaving Whitchurch we soon 
passed the mill where the Mother-Bank paper is made ! Thank 
God, this mill is likely soon to want employment! Hard by 
is a pretty park and house, belonging to " 'Squire " Portal, the 
paper-maker. The country people, who seldom want for sar- 
castic shrewdness, call it " Rag Hall "I I perceive that they 

40 Rural Rides 

are planting oaks on the " wastes," as the .-IgrietilturassfS call 
them, about Hartley Row; which is very good; because the 
herbage, alter the first year, is rather increased than diminished 
by the operation; while, in time, the oaks arrive at a timber 
stale, and add to the beauty and to the real wraith of the country, 
and to the real and solid \vealth of the descendants of the planter, 
who, in every such case, merits unequivocal praise, because he 
plants for his children's children. The planter here is l.adv 
Mildmav, who is, it seems, l.adv of the Manors about here. It is 
impossible to praise this act of hers too much, especially when 
One Considers her age. 1 beg a thousand pardons! 1 do not mean 
to say that her ladyship is old ; but she has long had grand 
children. If her ladyship had been a reader of old dread death 
and dread devil Johnson, that teacher of moping and melan 
cholv, she never would have planted an oak tree. 1 f the writings 
of this time serving, mean, dastardly old pensioner had got a 
linn hold of the minds of the people at large, the people would 
have been bereft of their very souls. These 1 writings, aided by 
the charm of pompous sound, were fast making their way, till 
light, reason, and the Krcnch revolution came to drive them 
into oblivion; or. at least, to confine them to the shelves ol 
repentant, married old rakes, and those of old stock-jobbers 
with young wives standing in need of something to keep down 
the unrulv ebullitions which are apt to take place while the 
'dearies'' are gone hobbling to 'Change. 'After pleasure 
comes /><//;/," savs Solomon; and after the sight of l.adv Mild 
mav's trulv noble plantations, came that of the clouts of the 
"gentlemen cadets" of the "Royal Military College of Sand- 
hurst!' Here, close by the road side, is the drying-ground, 
Sheets, shirts, and all sorts of things were here spread upon lines, 
covering, perhaps, an acre of ground! \Ye soon afterwards 
came to " York Place" on " ()smihnrg Hill." And is there 
never to be an end of these things? Awav to the left, we sec 
that immense building, which contains children breeding uj-> to 
be nnlitarv commanders I Has this plan cost, so little as two 
millions of pounds? 1 never see this place (and 1 have seen it 
fortv times during the last twenty years) without asking mysell 
this question: Will this thing be suffered to go on; will this 
thing, created bymonev raised by loan ; will this thing be upheld 
by means of taxes, while the interest of the debt is reduced, on the 
ground that the nation is unable to (\iv the interest in full ?- 
Answer that question, Castlereagh, Sidmouth, llrougham, or 



Tuesday, 4 December, 1821. 

THIS is the first time, since I went to France, in 1792, that I 
have been on this side of Shooters' Hill. The land, generally 
speaking, from Deptford to Dartford is poor, and the surface 
ugly by nature, to which ugliness there has been made, just 
before we came to the latter place, a considerable addition by 
the inclosure of a common, and by the sticking up of some 
shabby-genteel houses, surrounded with dead fences and things 
called gardens, in all manner of ridiculous forms, making, all 
together, the bricks, hurdle-rods and earth say, as plainly as 
they can speak, " Here dwell vanity and poverty." This is a 
little excrescence that has grown out of the immense sums, which 
have been drawn from other parts of the kingdom to be expended 
on barracks, magazines, martello-towers, catamarans, and all 
the excuses for lavish expenditure, which the war for the 
Bourbons gave rise to. All things will return; these rubbishy 
flimsy things, on this common, will first be deserted, then 
crumble down, then be swept away, and the cattle, sheep, pigs 
and geese will once more graze upon the common, which will 
again furnish heath, furze and turf for the labourers on the 
neighbouring lands. After you leave Dartford the land becomes 
excellent. You come to a bottom of chalk, many feet from the 
surface, and when that is the case the land is sure to be good; 
no wet at bottom, no deep ditches, no water furrows, necessary; 
sufficiently moist in dry weather, and no water lying about upon 
it in wet weather for any length of time. The chalk acts as a 
filtering-stone, not as a sieve, like gravel, and not as a dish, like 
clay. The chalk acts as the soft stone in Herefordshire does; 
but it is not so congenial to trees that have tap-roots. Along 
through Gravesend towards Rochester the country presents a 
sort of gardening scene. Rochester (the bishop of which is, or 
lately was, tax collector for London and Middlesex), is a small 
but crowded place, lying on the south bank of the beautiful 
Medway, with a rising ground on the other side of the city. 

42 Rural Rides 

Stroud, which you pass through before you come to the bridge, 
over which you go to enter Rochester; Rochester itself, and 
Chatham, form, in fact, one main street of about two miles and a 
half in length. Here I was got into the scenes of my cap-and- 
feather days! Here, at between sixteen and seventeen, 1 
enlisted for a soldier. Upon looking up towards the fortifications 
and the barracks, how many recollections crowded into my mind ! 
The girls in these towns do not seem to be so pretty as they were 
thirty-eight years ago; or am I not so quick in discovering 
beauties as I was then? Have thirty-eight years corrected my 
taste, or made me a hypercritic in these matters? Is it that I 
now look at them with the solemnness of a " professional man," 
and not with the enthusiasm and eagerness of an " amateur? ' 
I leave these questions for philosophers to solve. One thing I 
will say for the young women of these towns, and that is, that I 
always found those of them that I had the great happiness to be 
acquainted with, evince a sincere desire to do their best to 
smooth the inequalities of life, and to give us, " brave fellows," 
as often as they could, strong beer, when their churlish masters 
or fathers or husbands would have drenched us to death with 
small. This, at the out-set of life, gave me a high opinion of 
the judgment and justice of the female sex; an opinion which 
has been confirmed by the observations of my whole life. This 
Chatham has had some monstrous wens stuck on to it by the 
lavish expenditure of the war. These will moulder away. It 
is curious enough that I should meet with a gentleman in an inn 
at Chatham to give me a picture of the house-distress in that 
enormous wen, which, during the war, was stuck on to Ports- 
mouth. Not less than fifty thousand people had been drawn 
together there! These are now dispersing. The coagulated 
blood is diluting and flowing back through the veins. Whole 
streets are deserted, and the eyes of the houses knocked out by 
the boys that remain. The jack-daws, as much as to say, 
" Our turn to be inspired and to teach is come," are beginning 
to take possession of the Methodist chapels. The gentleman 
told me, that he had been down to Portsea to sell half a street 
of houses, left him by a relation; and that nobody would give 
him anything for them further than as very cheap fuel and 
rubbish! Good God! And is this "prosperity?' Is this 
the " prosperity of the war? ' Have I not, for twenty long 
years, been regretting the existence of these unnatural emboss- 
ments; these white-swellings, these odious wens, produced by 
corruption and engendering crime and misery and slavery? 

Sittingbourne 43 

We shall see the whole of these wens abandoned by the inhabit- 
ants, and, at last, the cannons on the fortifications may be of 
some use in battering down the buildings. But what is to be the 
fate of the great wen of all? The monster, called, by the silly 
coxcombs of the press, " the metropolis of the empire? ' 
What is to become of that multitude of towns that has been 
stuck up around it? The village of Kingston was smothered 
in the town of Portsea; and why? Because taxes, drained 
from other parts of the kingdom, were brought thither. 

The dispersion of the wen is the only real difficulty that I see 
in settling the affairs of the nation and restoring it to a happy 
state. But dispersed it must be ; and if there be half a million, 
or more, of people to suffer, the consolation is, that the suffering 
will be divided into half a million of parts. As if the swelling 
out of London, naturally produced by the funding system, were 
not sufficient; as if the evil were not sufficiently great from 
the inevitable tendency of the system of loans and funds, our 
pretty gentlemen must resort to positive institutions to augment 
the population of the Wen. They found that the increase 
of the Wen produced an increase of thieves and prostitutes, an 
increase of all sorts of diseases, an increase of miseries of all 
sorts; they saw that taxes drawn up to one point produced 
these effects; they must have a " penitentiary" for instance, 
to check the evil, and that they must needs have in the Wen! 
So that here were a million of pounds, drawn up in taxes, 
employed not only to keep the thieves and prostitutes still in 
the Wen, but to bring up to the Wen workmen to build the 
penitentiary, who and whose families, amounting, perhaps to 
thousands, make an addition to the cause of that crime and 
misery, to check which is the object of the penitentiary ! People 
would follow, they must follow, the million of money. However, 
this is of a piece with all the rest of their goings on. They and 
their predecessors, ministers and House, have been collecting 
together all the materials for a dreadful explosion; and if the 
explosion be not dreadful, other heads must point out the means 
of prevention. 

Wednesday, 5 Dec. 

The land on quitting Chatham is chalk at bottom ; but, before 
you reach Sittingbourne, there is a vein of gravel and sand under, 
but a great depth of loam above. Above Sittingbourne the 
chalk bottom comes again, and continues on to this place, where 
the land appears to me to be as good as it can possibly be. 

44 Rural Rides 

Mr. William Waller, at whose house I am, has grown, this year, 
mangel-wurzel, the roots of which weigh, I think, on an average, 
twelve pounds, and in rows, too, at only about thirty inches 
distant from each other. In short, as far as soil goes, it is 
impossible to see a finer country than this. You frequently see 
a field of fifty acres, level as a die, clean as a garden and as rich. 
Mr. Birkbeck need not have crossed the Atlantic, and Alleghany 
into the bargain, to look for land too rich to bear wheat ; for here 
is a plenty of it. In short, this is a country of hop-gardens, 
cherry, apple, pear and filbert orchards, and quickset hedges. 
But, alas ! what, in point of beauty, is a country without woods 
and lofty trees ! And here there are very few indeed. I am 
now sitting in a room, from the window of which I look, first, 
over a large and level field of rich land, in which the drilled 
wheat is finely come up, and which is surrounded by clipped 
quickset hedges with a row of apple trees running by the sides 
of them; next, over a long succession of rich meadows, which 
are here called marshes, the shortest grass upon which will fatten 
sheep or oxen ; next, over a little branch of the salt water which 
runs up to Faversham; beyond that, on the Isle of Shepry (or 
Shepway), which rises a little into a sort of ridge that runs 
along it; rich fields, pastures and orchards lie all around me; 
and yet, I declare, that I a million times to one prefer, as a spot 
to live on, the heaths, the miry coppices, the wild woods and 
the forests of Sussex and Hampshire. 

Thursday, 6 Dec. 

" Agricultural distress " is the great topic of general conversa- 
tion. The Webb Halhtes seem to prevail here. The fact is, 
farmers in general read nothing but the newspapers; these, in 
the Wen, are under the control of the corruption of one or the 
other of the factions; and in the country, nine times out of ten, 
under the control of the parsons and landlord?, who are the 
magistrates, as they are pompously called, that is to say, Justices 
of the Peace. From such vehicles what are farmers to learn? 
They are, in general, thoughtful and sensible men; but their 
natural good sense is perverted by these publications, had it not 
been for which we never should have seen " a sudden transition 
from war to peace " lasting seven years, and more sudden in its 
destructive effects at last than at first. Sir Edward Knatr.h- 
bull and Air. Honeywood are the members of the " Collective 
Wisdom " for this county. The former was, till of late, a tax- 
collector. I hear that he is a great advocate for corn-bills I I 

Faversham 45 

suppose he does not wish to let people who have leases see the 
bottom of the evil. He may get his rents for this year; but it 
will be his last year, if the interest of the debt be not very greatly 
reduced. Some people here think, that corn is smuggled in 
even now ! Perhaps it is, upon the whole, best that the delusion 
should continue for a year longer; as that would tend to make 
the destruction of the system more sure, or, at least, make the 
cure more radical. 

Friday, 7 Dec. 

I went through Faversham. A very pretty little town, and 
just ten minutes' walk from the market-place up to the Dover 
turnpike-road. Here are the powder-affairs that Mr. Hume so 
well exposed. An immensity of buildings and expensive things. 
Why are not these premises let or sold? However, this will 
never be done, until there be a reformed parliament. Pretty 
little Van, that beauty of all beauties; that orator of all 
orators ; that saint of all saints ; that financier of all financiers, 
said that, if Mr. Hume were to pare down the expenses of 
government to his wish, there would be others, " the Hunts, 
Cobbetts, and Carliles, who would still want the expense to be 
less." I do not know how low Mr. Hume would wish to go; but 
for myself I say, that if I ever have the power to do it, I will 
reduce the expenditure, and that in quick time too, down to 
what it was in the reign of Queen Anne; that is to say, to less 
than is now paid to tax-gatherers for their labour in collecting 
the taxes; and, monstrous as Van may think the idea, I do 
not regard it as impossible that I may have such power; which 
I would certainly not employ to do an act of injustics to any 
human being, and would, at the same time, maintain the throne 
in more real splendour than that in which it is now maintained. 
But I would have nothing to do with any Vans, except as 
door-keepers or porters. 

Saturday, 8 Dec. 

Came home very much pleaded with my visit to Mr. Walker, 
in whose house I saw no drinking of wine, spirits, or even beer; 
where all, even to the little children, were up by candle-light in 
the morning, and where the most perfect sobriety was accom- 
panied by constant cheerfulness. Kent is in a deplorable way. 
The farmers are skilful and intelligent, generally speaking. 
But there is infinite corruption in Kent, owing partly to the 
swarms of West Indians, nabobs, commissioners, and others of 

Rural Rides 

nearly the same description, that have selected it for the place 
of their residence; but owing still more to the immense sums 
of public money that have, during the last thirty years, been 
expended in it. And when one thinks of these, the conduct of 
the people of Dover, Canterbury, and other places, in the case 
of the ever-lamented queen, does them everlasting honour. 
The fruit in Kent is more select than in Herefordshire, where it 
is raised for cyder, while, in Kent, it is raised for sale in its fruit 
state, a great deal being sent to the Wen, and a great deal sent 
to the North of England and to Scotland. The orchards are 
beautiful indeed. Kept in the neatest order, and indeed, all 
belonging to them excels anything of the kind to be seen in 
Normandy; and, as to apples, I never saw any so good in 
France as those of Kent. This county, so blessed by Providence, 
has been cursed by the system in a peculiar degree. It has 
been the receiver of immense sums, raised on the other counties. 
This has puffed its rents to an unnatural height; and now that 
the drain of other counties is stopped, it feels like a pampered 
pony, turned out in winter to live upon a common. It is in an 
extremely " unsatisfactory state," and has certainly a greater 
mass of suffering to endure than any other part of the kingdom, 
the Wens only excepted. Sir Edward Knatchbull, who is a 
child of the system, does appear to see no more of the cause 
of these sufferings than if he were a baby. How should he? 
Not very bright by nature; never listening but to one side of 
the question; being a man who wants high rents to be paid him; 
not gifted with much light, and that little having to strive 
against prejudice, false shame, and self interest, what wonder 
is then? that he should not see things in their true light? 


Monday, 10 Dec. 1821. 

FROM the Wen to Norwich, from which I am now distant 
seven miles, there is nothing in Essex, Suffolk, or this county, 
that can be called a hill. Essex, when you get beyond the 
immediate influence of the gorgings and disgorgings of the Wen; 
that is to say, beyond the demand for crude vegetables and 
repayment in manure, is by no means a fertile county. There 
appears generally to be a bottom of day ; not soft chalk, which 
they persist in calling clay in Norfolk. I wish I had one of these 
Norfolk men in a coppice in Hampshire or Sussex, and I would 
show him what clay is. Clay is what pots and pans and jugs 
and tiles are made of; and not soft, whitish stuff that crumbles 
to pieces in the sun, instead of baking as hard as a stone, and 
which, in dry weather, is to be broken to pieces by nothing short 
of a sledge-hammer. The narrow ridges on which the wheat is 
sown; the water furrows; the water standing in the dips of the 
pastures; the rusty iron-like colour of the water coming out 
of some of the banks; the deep ditches; the rusty look of the 
pastures; all show that here is a bottom of clay. Yet there 
is gravel too; for the oaks do not grow well. It was not till I 
got nearly to Sudbury that I saw much change for the better. 
Here the bottom of chalk, the soft dirty-looking chalk that the 
Norfolk people call clay, begins to be the bottom, and this, with 
very little exception (as far as I have been), is the bottom of all 
the lands of these two fine counties of Suffolk and Norfolk. 
Sudbury has some fine meadows near it on the sides of the river 
Stour. The land all along to Bury Saint Edmund's is very fine; 
but no trees worth looking at. Bury, formerly the seat of an 
abbot, the last of whom was, I think, hanged, or somehow put 
to death, by that matchless tyrant, Henry VIII. , is a very pretty 
place; extremely clean and neat; no ragged or dirty people to 
be seen, and women (young ones I mean) very pretty and very 
neatly dressed. On this side of Bury, a considerable distance 
lower, I saw a field of rape, transplanted very thick, for, I 
suppose, sheep feed in the spring. The farming all along to 

Rural Rides 

Norwich is very good. The land clean, and everything done in 
a masterly manner. 

Tuesday, n Dec. 

Mr. Samuel Clarke, my host, has about 30 acres of swedes in 
rows. Some at 4 feet distances, some at 30 inches; and about 
4 acres of the 4-feet swedes were transplanted. I have seen 
thousands of acres of swedes in these counties, and here are the 
largest crops that I have seen. The widest rows are decidedly 
the largest crops here. And the transplanted, though under dis- 
advantageous circumstances, amongst the best of the best. The 
wide rows amount to at least 20 tons to the acre, exclusive of 
the greens taken off two months ago, which weighed 5 tons to 
the acre. Then there is the inter tillage, so beneficial to the 
land, and the small quantity of manure required in the broad 
rows, compared to what is required when the seed is drilled or 
sown upon the level. Mr. Nicholls, a neighbour of Mr. Clarke, 
has a part of a field transplanted on seven turn ridges, put in 
when in the other part of the field, drilled, the plants were a 
fortnight old. He has a much larger crop in the transplanted 
than in the drilled part. But if it had been & fly-year, he might 
have had none in the drilled part, while, in all probability, the 
crop in the transplanted part would have been better than it 
now is, seeing that a wet summer, though favourable to the 
hitting of the swedes, is by no means favourable to their attain- 
ing a great size of bulb. This is the case this year with all 
turnips. A great deal of leaf and neck, but not bulbs in pro- 
portion. The advantages of transplanting are, first, you make 
sure of a crop in spite of fly, and, second, you have six weeks or 
two months longer to prepare your ground. And the advan- 
tages of wide rows axt, first, that you want only about half the 
quantity of manure; and, second, that you plough the ground 
two or three times during the summer. 


Thursday, 13 Dec. 

Came to the Grove (Mr. Wither's), near Holt, along with Mr. 
Clarke. Through Norwich to Aylsham and then to Holt. On 
our road we passed the house of the late Lord Suffield, who 
married Castlereagh's wife's sister, who is a daughter of the late 
Earl of Buckinghamshire, who had for so many years that 
thumping sinecure of eleven thousand a year in Ireland, and 
who was the son of a man that, under the name of Mr. Hobart, 

Holt 49 

cut such a figure in supporting Lord North and afterwards Pitt, 
and was made a peer under the auspices of the latter of these 
two heaven-born ministers. This house, which is a very 
ancient one, was, they say, the birthplace of Ann de Boleyne, 
the mother of Queen Elizabeth. Not much matter; for she 
married the king while his real wife was alive. I could have 
excused her, if there had been no marrying in the case; but, 
hypocrisy, always bad, becomes detestable when it resorts to 
religious ceremony as its mask. She, no more than Cranmer, 
seems, to her last moments, to have remembered her sins against 
her lawful queen. Foxe's Book of Martyrs, that ought to be 
called the Book of Liars, says that Cranmer, the recanter and 
re-recanter, held out his offending hand in the flames, and cried 
out " that hand, that hand ! ' If he had cried out Catherine / 
Catherine I I should have thought better of him ; but, it is 
clear, that the whole story is a lie, invented by the protestants, 
and particularly by the sectarians, to white-wash the character 
of this perfidious hypocrite and double apostate, who, if bigotry 
had something to do in bringing him to the stake, certainly 
deserved his fate, if any offences committed by man can deserve 
so horrible a punishment. The present Lord Suffield is that 
Mr. Edward Harbord, whose father-in-law left him 500 to 
buy a seat in parliament, and who refused to carry an address 
to the late beloved and lamented queen, because Major Cart- 
wright and myself were chosen to accompany him! Never 
mind, my lord; you will grow less fastidious! They say, how- 
ever, that he is really good to his tenants, and has told them 
that he will take anything that they can give. There is some 
sense in this! He is a great Bible man; and it is strange that 
he cannot see that things are out of order, when his interference 
in this way can be at all necessary, while there is a Church that 
receives a tenth part of the produce of the earth. There are 
some oak woods here, but very poor. Not like those, not near 
like the worst of those, in Hampshire and Herefordshire. All 
this eastern coast seems very unpropitious to trees of all sorts. 
We passed through the estate of a Mr. Marsin, whose house is 
near the road, a very poor spot, and the first really poor ground 
I have seen in Norfolk. A nasty spewy black gravel on the top 
of a sour clay. It is worse than the heaths between Godalming 
and Liphook; for, while it is too poor to grow anything but 
heath, it is too cold to give you the chirping of the grasshopper 
in summer. However, Mr. Marsin has been too wise to enclose 
this wretched land, which is just like that which Lord Caernarvon 

C 6 3 8 

50 Rural Rides 

has enclosed in the parishes of Highclere, and Burghclere, and 
which, for tillage, really is not worth a single farthing an acre. 
Holt is a little, old-fashioned, substantially-built market-town. 
The land just about it, or, at least, towards the east, is poor, 
and has been lately enclosed. 

Friday, 14 Dec. 

Went to see the estate of Mr. Hardy at Leveringsett, a 
hamlet about two miles from Holt. This is the first time that 
I have seen a valley in this part of England. From Holt you 
look, to the distance of seven or eight miles, over a very fine 
valley, leaving a great deal of inferior hill and dell within its 
boundaries. At the bottom of this general valley, Mr. Hardy 
has a very beautiful estate of about four hundred acres. His 
house is at one end of it near the high road, where he has a malt- 
house and a brewery, the neat and ingenious manner of managing 
which I would detail if my total unacquaintance with machinery 
did not disqualify me for the task. His estate forms a valley of 
itself, somewhat longer than broad. The tops, and the sides of 
the tops of the hills round it, and also several little hillocks 
in the valley itself, are judiciously planted with trees of 
various sorts, leaving good wide roads, so that it is easy to ride 
round them in a carriage. The fields, the fences, the yards, 
the stacks, the buildings, the cattle, all showed the greatest 
judgment and industry. There was really nothing that the 
most critical observer could say was out of order. However, 
the forest trees do not grow well here. The oaks are mere scrubs, 
as they are about Brentwood in Essex, and in some parts of 
Cornwall; and, for some unaccountable reason, people seldom 
plant the ash, which no wind will shave, as it does the oak. 

Saturday, 15 Dec. 

Spent the evening amongst the farmers, at their market room 
at Holt; and very much pleased at them I was. We talked 
over the cause of the low prices, and I, as I have done every- 
where, endeavoured to convince them that prices must fall a great 
deal lower yet; and that no man, who wishes not to be ruined, 
ought to keep or take a farm, unless on a calculation of best 
wheat at 4$. a bushel and a best South Down ewe at i$s. or 
even 125. They heard me patiently, and, I believe, were well 
convinced of the truth of what I said. I told them of the 
correctness of the predictions of their great countrymen, Mr. 
Paine, and observed, how much better it would have been to 
take his advice, than to burn him in effigy. I endeavoured 

Bergh Apton 51 

(but in such a care all human powers must fail !) to describe to 
them the sort and size of the talents of the Stern-path-of-duty 
man, of the great hole-digger, of the jester, of the Oxford- 
scholar, of the loan-jobber (who had just made an enormous 
grasp), of the Oracle, and so on. Here, as everywhere else, 
I hear every creature speak loudly in praise of Mr. Coke. 
It is well known to my readers, that I think nothing of him as a 
public man; that I think even his good qualities an injury to 
his country, because they serve the knaves whom he is duped 
by to dupe the people more effectually; but it would be base 
in me not to say, that I hear, from men of all parties, and sensible 
men too, expressions made use of towards him that affectionate 
children use towards the best of parents. I have not met with 
a single exception. 

Sunday, 16 Dec. 

Came from Holt through Saxthorpe and Cawston. At the 
former village were on one end of a decent white house, these 
words, " Queen Caroline ; for her Britons mourn," and a crown 
over all in black. I need not have looked to see: I might have 
been sure, that the owner of the house was a shoe-maker, a trade 
which numbers more men of sense and of public spirit than any 
other in the kingdom. At Cawston we stopped at a public 
house, the keeper of which had taken and read the Register for 
years. I shall not attempt to describe the pleasure I felt at the 
hearty welcome given us by Mr. Pern and his wife and by a 
young miller of the village, who, having learnt at Holt that we 
were to return that way, had come to meet us, the house being 
on the side of the great road, from which the village is at some 
distance. This is the birthplace of the famous Botley Parson, 
all the history of whom we now learned, and if we could 
have gone to the village, they were prepared to ring the bells, 
and show us the old woman who nursed the Botley Parson 1 
These Norfolk haws never do things by halves. We came 
away, very much pleased with our reception at Cawston, and 
with a promise, on my part, that, if I visited the county again. 
I would write a Register there; a promise which I shall certainly 

Friday (morning), 21 Dec. 

The day before yesterday I set out for Bergh Apton with 
Mr. Clarke, to come hither by the way of Beccles in Suffolk 

52 Rural Rides 

We stopped at Mr. Charles Clarke's at Beccles, where we saw some 
good and sensible men, who see clearly into all the parts of the 
works of the ' Thunderers," and whose anticipations, as to the 
: ' general working of events," are such as they ought to be. 
They gave us a humorous account of the " rabble ' having 
recently crowned a Jack-ass, and of a struggle between them 
and the " Yeomanry Gavaltry." This was a place of most 
ardent and blazing loyalty, as the pretenders to it call it; but, 
it seems, it now blazes less furiously; it is milder, more measured 
in its effusions; and, with the help of low prices, will become 
bearable in time. This Beccles is a very pretty place, has 
watered meadows near it, and is situated amidst fine lands. 
What a system it must be to make people wretched in a country 
like this ! Could he be heaven-born that invented such a system ? 
Gaffer Gooch's father, a very old man, lives not far from here. 
We had a good deal of fun about the Gaffer, who will certainly 
never lose the name, unless he should be made a lord. We 
slept at the house of a friend of Mr. Clarke on our way, and got 
to this very fine town of Great Yarmouth yesterday about noon. 
A party of friends met us and conducted us about the town, 
which is a very beautiful one indeed. What I liked best, how- 
ever, was the hearty welcome that I met with, because it showed 
that the reign of calumny and delusion was passed. A company 
of gentlemen gave me a dinner in the evening, and in all my 
life I never saw a set of men more worthy of my respect and 
gratitude. Sensible, modest, understanding the whole of our 
case, and clearly foreseeing what is about to happen. One 
gentleman proposed, that, as it would be impossible for all to go 
to London, there should be a Provincial Feast of the Gridiron, 
a plan, which, I hope, will be adopted. I leave Great Yar- 
mouth with sentiments of the sincerest regard for all those 
whom I there saw and conversed with, and with my best wishes 
for the happiness of all its inhabitants; nay, even the parsons 
not excepted; for, if they did not come to welcome me, they 
collected in a group to see me, and that was one step towards 
doing justice to him whom their order have so much, so foully, 
and, if they knew their own interest, so foolishly slandered. 

22 Dec. (night}. 

After returning from Yarmouth yesterday, went to dine at 
Stoke-Holy-Cross, about six miles off; got home at midnight, 

Norwich 53 

and came to Norwich this morning, this being market-day, and 
also the day fixed on for a Radical Reform Dinner at the Swan 
Inn, to which I was invited. Norwich is a very fine city, and 
the castle, which stands in the middle of it, on a hill, is truly 
majestic. The meat and poultry and vegetable market is 
beautiful. It is kept in a large open square in the middle, or 
nearly so, of the city. The ground is a pretty sharp slope, so 
that you see all at once. It resembles one of the French markets, 
only there the vendors are all standing and gabbling like parrots, 
and the meat is lean and bloody and nasty, and the people 
snuffy and grimy in hands and face, the contrary, precisely the 
contrary of all which is the case in this beautiful market at 
Norwich, where the women have a sort of uniform brown great 
coats, with white aprons and bibs (I think they call them) going 
from the apron up to the bosom. They equal in neatness (for 
nothing can surpass) the market women in Philadelphia. The 
cattle-market is held on the hill by the castle, and many fairs are 
smaller in bulk of stock. The corn-market is held in a very 
magnificent place, called Saint Andrew's Hall, which will contain 
two or three thousand persons. They tell me that this used 
to be a most delightful scene; a most joyous one; and I think 
it was this scene that Mr. Curwen described in such glowing 
colours when he was talking of the Norfolk farmers, each worth 
so many thousands of pounds. Bear me witness, reader, that 
/ never was dazzled by such sights; that the false glare never 
put my eyes out; and that, even then, twelve years ago, I 
warned Mr. Curwen of the result I Bear witness to this, my 
Disciples, and justify the doctrines of him, for whose sakes you 
have endured persecution. How different would Mr. Curwen 
find the scene now 1 What took place at the dinner has been 
already recorded in the Register; and I have only to add with 
regard to it, that my reception at Norfolk was such, that I have 
only to regret the total want of power to make those hearty 
Norfolk and Norwich friends any suitable return, whether by 
act or word. 


Monday, 24 Dec. 

Went from Bergh Apton to Norwich in the morning, and from 
Norwich to London during the day, carrying with me great 
admiration of and respect for this county of excellent farmers, 
and hearty, open and spirited men. The Norfolk people are 
quick and smart in their motions and in their speaking. Very 

54 Rural Rides 

neat and trim in all their farming concerns, and very skilful. 
Their land is good, their roads are level, and the bottom of their 
soil is dry, to be sure ; and these are great advantages ; but they 
are diligent, and make the most of everything. Their manage- 
ment of all sorts of stock is most judicious; they are careful 
about manure; their teams move quickly; and, in short, it is a 
county of most excellent cultivators. The churches in Norfolk 
are generally large and the towers lofty. They have all been 
well built at first. Many of them are of the Saxon architecture. 
They are, almost all (I do not remember an exception), placed 
on the highest spots to be found near where they stand; and. it 
is curious enough, that the contrary practice should have pre- 
vailed in hilly countries, where they are generally found in 
valleys and in low, sheltered dells, even in those valleys ! These 
churches prove that the people of Norfolk and Suffolk were 
always a superior people in point of wealth, while the size of 
them proves that the country parts were, at one time, a great 
deal more populous than they now are. The great drawbacks 
on the beauty of these counties are, their flatness and their want 
of fine woods; but to those who can dispense with these, 
Norfolk, under a wise and just government, can have nothing 
to ask more than Providence and the industry of man have 


For, in fact, it is not the farmer, but the landlord and parson. 
who wants relief from the " collective." The tenant's remedy is, 
quitting his farm or bringing down his rent to what he can 
afford to give, wheat being 3 or 4 shillings a bushel. This is 
his remedy. What should he want high prices for? They can 
do him no good; and this I proved to the farmers last year. 
The fact is, the landlords and parsons are urging the farmers on 
to get something done to give them high rents and high tithes. 

At Hertford there has been a meeting at which some sense was 
discovered, at any rate. The parties talked about the fund- 
holder, the debt, the taxes, and so on, and seemed to be in a very 
warm temper. Pray, keep yourselves cool, gentlemen ; for you 
have a great deal to endure yet. I deeply regret that I have not 
room to insert the resolutions of this meeting. 

There is to be a meeting at Battle (East Sussex) on the 3rd 
instant, at which / mean to be. I want to see my friends on the 
South-Downs. To see how they lo(. k now. 

Landlord Distress Meetings 55 

[At a public dinner given to Mr. Cobbett at Norwich, on the 
market-day above mentioned, the company drank the toast of 
Mr. Cobbett and his " Trash," the name " two-penny trash," 
having been at one time applied by Lord Castlereagh to the 
Register. In acknowledging this toast Mr. Cobbett addressed 
the company in a speech, of which the following is a passage:] 

My thanks to you for having drunk my health are great and 
sincere; but much greater pleasure do I feel at the approbation 
bestowed on that trash, which has, for so many years, been a 
mark for the finger of scorn to be pointed at by ignorant selfish- 
ness and arrogant and insolent power. To enumerate, barely to 
name, all, or a hundredth part of, the endeavours that have been 
made to stifle this trash, would require a much longer space of 
time than that which we have now before us. But, gentlemen, 
those endeavours must have cost money ; money must have been 
expended in the circulation of Anti-Cobbett, and the endless 
bale of papers and pamphlets put forth to check the progress of 
the trash : and when we take into view the immense sums 
expended in keeping down the spirit excited by the trash, who 
of us is to tell, whether these endeavours, taken altogether, may 
not have added many millions to that debt, of which (without 
any hint at a concomitant measure] some men have now the 
audacity, the unprincipled, the profligate assurance to talk of 
reducing the interest. The trash, gentlemen, is now triumphant ; 
its triumph we are now met to celebrate; proofs of its triumph I 
myself witnessed not many hours ago, in that scene where the 
best possible evidence was to be found. In walking through 
St. Andrew's Hall, my mind was not so much engaged on the 
grandeur of the place, or on the gratifying reception I met with; 
those hearty shakes by the hand which I so much like, those 
smiles of approbation, which not to see with pride would argue 
an insensibility to honest fame : even these, I do sincerely assure 
you, engaged my mind much less than the melancholy reflection 
that, of the two thousand or fifteen hundred farmers then in 
my view, there were probably three-fourths who came to the hall 
with aching hearts, and who would leave it in a state of mental 
agony. What a thing to contemplate, gentlemen! What a 
scene is here! A set of men, occupiers of the land; producers 
of all that we eat, drink, wear, and of all that forms the buildings 
that shelter us; a set of men industrious and careful by habit; 
cool, thoughtful, and sensible from the instructions of nature; 
a set of men provident above all others, and engaged in pursuits 
in their nature stable as the very earth they till: to see a set of 

56 Rural Rides 

men like this plunged into anxiety, embarrassment, jeopardy, 
not to be described; and when the particular individuals before 
me were famed for their superior skill in this great and solid 
pursuit, and were blessed with soil and other circumstances to 
make them prosperous and happy: to behold this sight would 
have been more than sufficient to sink my heart within me, 
had I not been upheld by the reflection, that I had done all in my 
power to prevent these calamities,, and that I still had in reserve 
that which, with the assistance of the sufferers themselves, would 
restore them and the nation to happiness. 




Wednesday, 2 Jan. 1822. 

CAME here to-day from Kensington, in order to see what goes 
on at the meeting to be held here to-morrow, of the " gentry, 
clergy, freeholders, and occupiers of land in the Rape of Hastings, 
to take into consideration the distressed state of the agricultural 
interest." I shall, of course, give an account of this meeting 
after it has taken place. You come through part of Kent to get 
to Battle from the Great Wen on the Surrey side of the Thames, 
The first town is Bromley, the next Seven-Oaks, the next Tun- 
bridge, and between Tunbridge and this place you cross the 
boundaries of the two counties. From the Surrey Wen to 
Bromley the land is generally a deep loam on a gravel, and you 
see few trees except elm. A very ugly country. On quitting 
Bromley the land gets poorer; clay at bottom; the wheat sown 
on five, or seven, turn lands; the furrows shining with wet; 
rushes on the wastes on the sides of the road. Here there is a 
common, part of which has been inclosed and thrown out again, 
or, rather, the fences carried away. There is a frost this morn- 
ing, some, ice and the women look rosy-cheeked. There is a 
very great variety of soil along this road; bottom of yellow clay; 
then of sand; then of sand-stone; then of solider stone; then 
(for about five miles) of chalk; then of red clay; then chalk 
again; here (before you come to Seven-Oaks) is a most beautiful 
and rich valley, extending from east to west, with rich corn- 
fields and fine trees; then comes sand-stone again; and the hop- 
gardens near Seven-Oaks, which is a pretty little town with 
beautiful environs, part of which consists of the park of Knowle, 
the seat of the Duchess of Dorset. It is a very fine place. And 
there is another park, on the other side of the town. So that 
this is a delightful place, and the land appears to be very good. 
The gardens and houses all look neat and nice. On quitting 
Seven-Oaks you come to a bottom of gravel for a short distance, 
and to a clay for many miles. When I say that I saw teams 
carting gravel from this spot to a distance of nearly ten miles. 
*c 63* 57 

58 Rural Rides 

along the road, the reader will be at no loss to know what sort 
of bottom the land has all along here. The bottom then becomes 
sand-stone again. This vein of land runs all along through the 
county of Sussex, and the clay runs into Hampshire, across the 
forests of Bere and Waltham, then across the parishes of Ousle- 
bury, Stoke, and passing between the sand hills of Southampton 
and chalk hills of Winchester, goes westward till stopped by the 
chalky downs between Romsey and Salisbury. Tunbridge is a 
small but very nice town, and has some fine meadows and a 
navigable river. The rest of the way to Battle presents, 
alternately, clay and sand-stone. Of course the coppices and 
oak woods are very frequent. There is now and then a hop- 
garden spot, and now and then an orchard of apples or cherries; 
but these are poor indeed compared with what you see about 
Canterbury and Maidstone. The agricultural state of the 
country or, rather, the quality of the land, from Bromley to 
Battle, may be judged of from the fact, that I did not see, as I 
came along, more than thirty acres of swedes during the fifty- 
six miles ! In Norfolk I should, in the same distance, have seen 
five hundred acres ! However, man was not the maker of the land ; 
and, as to human happiness, I am of opinion that as much, and 
even more, falls to the lot of the leather-legged chaps that live 
in and rove about amongst those clays and woods as to the more 
regularly disciplined labourers of the rich and prime parts of 
England. As " God has made the back to the burthen," so the 
clay and coppice people make the dress to the stubs and bushes. 
Under the sole of the shoe is iron ; from the sole six inches 
upwards is a high-low; then comes a leather bam to the knee; 
then comes a pair of leather breeches; then comes a stout 
doublet; over this comes a smock-frock; and the wearer sets 
brush and stubs and thorns and mire at defiance. I have always 
observed that woodland and forest labourers are best off in the 
main. The coppices give them pleasant and profitable work 
in winter. If they have not so great a corn-harvest, they have a 
three weeks' harvest in April or May; that is to say, in the 
season of barking, which in Hampshire is called stripping, and 
in Sussex flaying, which employs women and children as well as 
men. And then in the great article of fuel I They buy none. 
It is miserable work where this is to be bought, and where, as 
at Salisbury, the poor take by turns the making of fires at their 
houses to boil four or five tea-kettles. What a winter-life must 
those lead, whose turn it is not to make the fire ! At Launceston 
in Cornwall a man, a tradesman too, told me, that the people 

Battle 59 

in general could not afford to have fire in ordinary, and that he 
himself paid $d. for boiling a leg of mutton at another man's 
fire! The leather-legged-race know none of these miseries, at 
any rate. They literally get their fuel " by hook or by crook" 
whence, doubtless, comes that old and very expressive saying, 
which is applied to those cases where people will have a thing 
by one means or another. 

Thursday (night), 3 Jan. 1822. 

To-day there has been a meeting here of the landlords and 
farmers in this part of Sussex, which is called the Rape of 
Hastings. The object was to agree on a petition to parliament 
praying for relief I Good God ! Where is this to end ? We 
now see the effects of those rags which I have been railing 
against for the last twenty years. Here were collected together 
not less than 300 persons, principally landlords and farmers, 
brought from their homes by their distresses and by their alarms 
for the future! Never were such things heard in any country 
before; and it is useless to hope, for terrific must be the con- 
sequences, if an effectual remedy be not speedily applied. The 
town, which is small, was in a great bustle before noon; and 
the meeting (in a large room in the principal inn) took place 
about one o'clock. Lord Ashburnham was called to the chair, 
and there were present Mr. Curteis, one of the county members, 
Mr. Fuller, who formerly used to cut such a figure in the House 
of Commons, Mr. Lambe, and many other gentlemen of landed 
property within the rape, or district, for which the meeting was 
held. Mr. Curteis, after Lord Ashburnham had opened the 
business, addressed the meeting. 

Mr. Fuller then tendered some resolutions, describing the 
fallen state of the landed interest, and proposing to pray, 
generally, for relief. Mr. Britton complained that it was not 
proposed to pray for some specific measure, and insisted, that 
the cause of the evil was the rise in the value of money without 
a corresponding r duction in the taxes. A committee was 
appointed to draw up a petition, which was next produced. 
It merely described the distress, and prayed generally for relief. 
Mr. Holloway proposed an addition, containing an imputation 
of the distress to restricted currency and unabated taxation, 
and praying for a reduction of taxes. A discussion now arose 
upon two points: first, whether the addition were admissible at 
all! and, second, whether Mr. Holloway was qualified to offer 

60 Rural Rides 

it to the meeting. Both the points having been, at last, decided 
in the affirmative, the addition, or amendment, was put, and 
lost ; and then the original petition was adopted. 

After the business of the day was ended, there was a dinner 
in the inn, in the same room where the meeting had been held. 
I was at this dinner; and Mr. Britton having proposed my 
health, and Mr. Curteis, who was in the chair, having given it, 
I thought it would have looked like mock-modesty, which is, 
in fact, only another term for hypocrisy, to refrain from ex- 
pressing my opinions upon a point or two connected with the 
business of the day. I shall now insert a substantially correct 
sketch of what the company was indulgent enough to hear from 
me at the dinner; which I take from the report, contained in 
the Morning Chronicle of Saturday last. The report in the 
Chronicle has all the pith of what I advanced relative to the 
inutility of Corn Bills, and relative to the cause of further declining 
prices ; two points of the greatest importance in themselves, 
and which I was, and am, uncommonly anxious to press upon 
the attention of the public. 

The following is a part of the speech so reported: 
I am decidedly of opinion, gentlemen, that a Corn Bill of no 
description, no matter what its principles or provisions, can do 
either tenant or landlord any good; and I am not less decidedly 
of opinion, that though prices are now low, they must, all the 
present train of public measures continuing, be yet lower, and 
continue lower upon an average of years and of seasons. As 
to a Corn Bill; a law to prohibit or check the importation of 
human food is a perfect novelty in our history, and ought, 
therefore, independent of the reason, and the recent experience 
of the case, to be received and entertained with great suspicion. 
Heretofore, premiums have been given for the exportation, 
and at other times for the importation, of corn; but of laws 
to prevent the importation of human food our ancestors knew 
nothing. And what says recent experience? When the 
present Corn Bill was passed, I, then a farmer, unable to get 
my brother farmers to join me, petitioned singly against this Bill; 
and I stated to my brother farmers, that such a Bill could do 
us no good, while it would not fail to excite against us the ill- 
will of the other classes of the community; a thought by no 
means pleasant. Thus has it been. The distress of agriculture 
was considerable in magnitude then ; but what is it now ? And 
yet the Bill was passed; that Bill which was to remunerate and 
protect is still in force; the farmers got what they prayed to 

Battle 6 1 

have granted them; and their distress, with a short interval 
of tardy pace, has proceeded rapidly increasing from that day 
to this. What, in the way of Corn Bill, can you have, gentle- 
men, beyond absolute prohibition? And have you not, since 
about April, 1819, had absolute prohibition? Since that time 
no corn has been imported, and then only thirty millions of 
bushels, which, supposing it all to have been wheat, was a 
quantity much too insignificant to produce any sensible de- 
pression in the price of the immense quantity of corn raised in 
this kingdom since the last bushel was imported. If your 
produce had fallen in this manner, if your prices had come down 
very low, immediately after the importation had taken place, 
there might have been some colour of reason to impute the fall 
to the importation ; but it so happens, and as if for the express 
purpose of contradicting the crude notions of Mr. Webb Hall, 
that your produce has fallen in price at a greater rate, in pro- 
portion as time has removed you from the point of importation; 
and as to the circumstance, so ostentatiously put forward by 
Mr. Hall and others, that there is still some of the imported 
corn unsold, what does it prove but the converse of what those 
gentlemen aim at, that is to say, that the holders cannot afford 
to sell it at present prices; for, if they could gain but ever so 
little by the sale, would they keep it wasting and costing money 
in warehouses? There appears with some persons to be a 
notion, that the importation of corn is a new thing. They seem 
to forget, that, during the last war, when agriculture was so 
prosperous, the ports were always open; that prodigious quantities 
of corn were imported during the war; that, so far from importa- 
tion being prohibited, high premiums were given, paid out of the 
taxes, partly raised upon English farmers, to induce men to 
import corn. All this seems to be forgotten as much as if it had 
never taken place; and now the distress of the English farmer 
is imputed to a cause which was never before an object of his 
attention, and a desire is expressed to put an end to a branch 
of commerce which the nation has always freely carried on. I 
think, gentlemen, that here are reasons quite sufficient to make 
any man but Mr. Webb Hall slow to impute the present distress 
to the importation of corn ; but, at any rate, what can you have 
beyond absolute efficient prohibition? No law, no duty, how- 
ever high; nothing that the parliament can do can go beyond 
this; and this you now have, in effect, as completely as if this 
were the only country beneath the sky. For these reasons, 
gentlemen (and to state more would be a waste of your time and 

62 Rural Rides 

an affront to your understandings), I am convinced, that, in the 
way of Corn Bill, it is impossible for the parliament to afford 
you any, even the smallest, portion of relief. As to the other 
point, gentlemen, the tendency which the present measures and 
course of things have to carry prices lower, and considerably 
lower than they now are, and to keep them for a permanency 
at that low rate, this is a matter worthy of the serious attention 
of all connected with the land, and particularly of that of the 
renting farmer. During the war no importations distressed the 
farmer. It was not till peace came that the cry of distress was 
heard. But, during the war, there was a boundless issue of 
paper money. Those issues were instantly narrowed by the 
peace, the law being that the bank should pay in cash six 
months after the peace should take place. This was the cause 
of that distress which led to the present Corn Bill. The disease 
occasioned by the preparations for cash-payments has been 
brought to a crisis by Mr. Peel's Bill, which has, in effect, doubled, 
if not tripled, the real amount of the taxes, and violated all 
contracts for time; given triple gains to every lender, and 
placed every borrower in jeopardy. 

Friday, 4 Jan. 1822. 

Got home from Battle. I had no time to see the town, having 
entered the inn on Wednesday in the dusk of the evening, 
having been engaged all day yesterday in the inn, and having 
come out of it only to get into the coach this morning. I had 
not time to go even to see Battle Abbey, the seat of the Webster 
family, now occupied by a man of the name of Alexander I 
Thus they replace them I It will take a much shorter time than 
most people imagine to put out all the ancient families. I 
should think, that six years will turn out all those who receive 
nothing out of taxes. The greatness of the estate is no pro- 
tection to the owner; for, great or little, it will soon yield him 
no rents; and when the produce is nothing in either case, the 
small estate is as good as the large one. Mr. Curteis said, that 
the land was immovable ; yes ; but the rents are not. And ii 
freeholds cannot be seized for common contract debts, the 
carcass of the owner may. But, in fact, there will be no rents; 
and, without these, the ownership is an empty sound. Thus, 
at last, the burthen will, as I always said it would, fall upon the 
landowner ; and, as the fault of supporting the system has 
been wholly his, the burthen will fall upon the right back. 

Battle 63 

Whether he will now call in the people to help him to shake it 
off is more than I can say; but, if he do not, I am sure that he 
must sink under it. And then, will revolution No. I. have been 
accomplished; but far, and very far indeed, will that be from 
being the close of the drama! I cannot quit Battle without 
observing that the country is very pretty all about it. All hill 
or valley. A great deal of woodland, in which the underwood 
is generally very fine, though the oaks are not very fine, and 
a good deal covered with moss. This shows that the clay ends 
before the tap-root of the oak gets as deep as it would go; for 
when the clay goes the full depth the oaks are always fine. 
The woods are too large and too near each other for hare- 
hunting; and as to coursing it is out of the question here. 
But it is a fine country for shooting and for harbouring game 
of all sorts. It was rainy as I came home; but the woodmen 
were at work. A great many hop-poles are cut here, which 
makes the coppices more valuable than in many other parts. 
The women work in the coppices, shaving the bark of the hop- 
poles, and, indeed, at various other parts of the business. 
These poles are shaved to prevent maggots from breeding in the 
bark and accelerating the destruction of the pole. It is curious 
that the bark of trees should generate maggots; but it has, as 
well as the wood, a sugary matter in it. The hickory wood in 
America sends out from the ends of the logs when these are 
burning great quantities of the finest syrup that can be imagined. 
Accordingly, that wood breeds maggots, or worms as they are 
usually called, surprisingly. Our ash breeds worms very much. 
When the tree or pole is cut, the moist matter between the outer 
bark and the wood, putrifies. Thence come the maggots, which 
soon begin to eat their way into the wood. For this reason the 
bark is shaved off the hop-poles, as it ought to be off all our 
timber trees, as soon as cut, especially the ash. Little boys and 
girls shave hop-poles and assist in other coppice work very 
nicely. And it is pleasant work when the weather is dry over 
head. The woods, bedded with leaves as they are, are clean 
and dry underfoot. They are warm too, even in the coldest 
weather. When the ground is frozen several inches deep in the 
open fields, it is scarcely frozen at all in a coppice where the 
underwood is a good plant, and where it is nearly high enough 
to cut. So that the woodman's is really a pleasant life. We 
are apt to think that the birds have a hard time of it in winter. 
But we forget the warmth of the woods, which far exceeds any- 
thing to be found in farmyards. When Sidmouth started me 

64 Rural Rides 

from my farm, in 1817, I had just planted my farmyard round 
with a pretty coppice. But, never mind, Sidmouth, and I shall, 
I dare say, have plenty of time and occasion to talk about that 
coppice, and many other things, before we die. And, can I, 
when I think of these things now, pity those to whom Sidmouth 
owed his power of starting me! But let me forget the subject 
for this time at any rate. Woodland countries are interesting 
on many accounts. Not so much on account of their masses of 
green leaves, as on account of the variety of sights and sounds 
and incidents that they afford. Even in winter the coppices 
are beautiful to the eye, while they comfort the mind with the 
idea of shelter and warmth. In spring they change their hue 
from day to day during two whole months, which is about the 
time from the first appearance of the delicate leaves of the birch 
to the full expansion of those of the ash ; and even before the 
leaves come at all to intercept the view, what in the vegetable 
creation is so delightful to behold as the bed of a coppice 
bespangled with primroses and bluebells? The opening of the 
birch leaves is the signal for the pheasant to begin to crow, for 
the blackbird to whistle, and the thrush to sing; and just 
when the oak-buds begin to look reddish, and not a day before, 
the whole tribe of finches burst forth in songs from every bough, 
while the lark, imitating them all, carries the joyous sounds to 
the sky. These are amongst the means which Providence has 
benignantly appointed to sweeten the toils by which food and 
raiment are produced ; these the English Ploughman could once 
hear without the sorrowful reflection that he himself was a 
pauper, and that the bounties of nature had, for him, been 
scattered in vain ! And shall he never see an end to this state 
of things! Shall he never have the due reward of his labour! 
Shall unsparing taxation never cease to make him a miserable 
dejected being, a creature famishing in the midst of abundance, 
fainting, expiring with hunger's feeble moans, surrounded by a 
carolling creation! 0! accursed paper-money! Has hell a 
torment surpassing the wickedness of thy inventor I 




Tuesday, 8 Jan. 1822. 

CAME here to-day, from home, to see what passes to-morrow 
at a meeting to be held here of the owners and occupiers of land 
in the rapes of Lewes and Pevensey. In quitting the great Wen 
we go through Surrey more than half the way to Lewes. From 
Saint George's Fields, which now are covered with houses, we 
go, towards Croydon, between rows of houses, nearly half the 
way, and the whole way is nine miles. There are, erected within 
these four years, two entire miles of stock- jobbers' houses on 
this one road, and the work goes on with accelerated force! 
To be sure; for the taxes being, in fact, tripled by Peel's Bill, 
the fundlords increase in riches; and their accommodations 
increase of course. What an at once horrible and ridiculous 
thing this country would become, if this thing could go on only 
for a few years! And these rows of new houses, added to the 
Wen, are proofs of growing prosperity, are they? These make 
part of the increased capital of the country, do they? But 
how is this Wen to be dispersed ? I know not whether it be to 
be done by knife or by caustic; but dispersed it must be ! And 
this is the only difficulty, which I do not see the easy means of 
getting over. Aye ! these are dreadful thoughts ! I know they 
are; but they ought not to be banished from the mind; for 
they will return, and, at every return, they will be more frightful. 
The man who cannot coolly look at this matter is unfit for the 
times that are approaching. Let the interest of the debt be 
once well reduced (and that must be sooner or later) and then 
what is to become of half a million at least of the people con- 
gregated in this Wen? Oh! precious "Great Man now no 
more!" Oh! "Pilot that weathered the Storm!" Oh! 
" Heaven - born ' pupil of Prettyman! Who but him who 
can number the sands of the sea, shall number the execrations 
with which thy memory will be loaded! From London to 


66 Rural Rides 

Croydon is as ugly a bit of country as any in England. A poor 
spewy gravel with some clay. Few trees but elms, and those 
generally stripped up and villainously ugly. Croydon is a 
good market-town; but is, by the funds, swelled out into a 
Wen. Upon quitting Croydon for Godstone, you come to the 
chalk hills, the juniper shrubs and the yew trees. This is an 
extension westward of the vein of chalk which I have before 
noticed (see page 57) between Bromley and Seven-Oaks. To 
the westward here lies Epsom Downs, which lead on to Merrow 
Downs and St. Margaret's Hill, then, skipping over Guildford, 
you come to the Hog's Back, which is still of chalk, and at the 
west end of which lies Farnham. With the Hog's Back this 
vein of chalk seems to end; for then the valleys become rich 
loam, and the hills sand and gravel till you approach the Win- 
chester Downs by the way of Arlesford. Godstone, which is in 
Surrey also, is a beautiful village, chiefly of one street with a fine 
large green before it and with a pond in the green. A little way 
to the right (going from London) lies the vile rotten Borough of 
Blechingley ; but, happily for Godstone, out of sight. At and 
near Godstone the gardens are all very neat; and, at the inn, 
there is a nice garden well stocked with beautiful flowers in the 
season. I here saw, last summer, some double violets as large 
as small pinks, and the lady of the house was kind enough to 
give me some of the roots. From Godstone you go up a long 
hill of clay and sand, and then descend into a level country of 
stiff loam at top, clay at bottom, corn-fields, pastures, broad 
hedge-rows, coppices, and oak woods, which country continues 
till you quit Surrey about two miles before you reach East- 
Grinstead. The woods and coppices are very fine here. It is 
the genuine oak-soil ; a bottom of yellow clay to any depth, I 
dare say, that man can go. No moss on the oaks. No dead 
tops. Straight as larches. The bark of the young trees with dark 
spots in it; sure sign of free growth and great depth of clay beneath. 
The wheat is here sown on five-turn ridges, and the ploughing 
is amongst the best that I ever saw. At East-Grinstead, which 
is a rotten borough and a very shabby place, you come to stiff 
loam at top with sand-stone beneath. To the south of the place 
the land is fine, and the vale on both sides a very beautiful 
intermixture of woodland and corn-fields and pastures. At 
about three miles from Grinstead you come to a pretty village, 
called Forest-Row, and then, on the road to Uckfield, you cross 
Ashurst Forest, which is a heath, with here and there a few 
birch scrubs upon it, verily the most villainously ugly spot I 

Lewes 67 

ever saw in England. This lasts you for five miles, getting, if 
possible, uglier and uglier all the way, till, at last, as if barren 
soil, nasty spewy gravel, heath and even that stunted, were not 
enough, you see some rising spots, which instead of trees, present 
you with black, ragged, hideous rocks. There may be English- 
men who wish to see the coast of Nova Scotia. They need not 
go to sea; for here it is to the life. If I had been in a long trance 
(as our nobility seem to have been), and had been waked up 
here, I should have begun to look about for the Indians and the 
squaws, and to have heaved a sigh at the thought of being so 
far from England. From the end of this forest without trees 
you come into a country of but poorish wettish land. Passing 
through the village of Uckfield, you find an enclosed country, 
with a soil of a clay cast all the way to within about three miles 
of Lewes, when you get to a chalk bottom, and rich land. I 
was at Lewes at the beginning of last harvest, and saw the fine 
farms of the Ellmans, very justly renowned for their improve- 
ment of the breed of South-Down sheep, and the younger Mr. 
John Ellman not less justly blamed for the part he had taken in 
propagating the errors of Webb Hall, and thereby, however 
unintentionally, assisting to lead thousands to cherish those 
false hopes that have been the cause of their ruin. Mr. Ellman 
may say, that he thought he was right; but if he had read my 
New Years Gift to the farmers, published in the preceding 
January, he could not think that he was right. If he had not 
read it, he ought to have read it, before he appeared in print. 
At any rate, if no other person had a right to censure his publica- 
tions, I had that right. I will here notice a calumny, to which 
the above visit to Lewes gave rise; namely, that I went into the 
neighbourhood of the Ellmans, to find out whether they ill- 
treated their labourers! No man that knows me will believe 
this. The facts are these: the Ellmans, celebrated farmers, 
had made a great figure in the evidence taken before the com- 
mittee. I was at Worth, about twenty miles from Lewes. The 
harvest was begun. Worth is a woodland country. I wished 
to know the state of the crops; for, I was, at that very time, 
as will be seen by referring to the date, beginning to write my 
First Letter to the Landlords. Without knowing anything of 
the matter myself, I asked my host, Mr. Brazier, what good corn 
country was nearest to us. He said Lewes. Off I went, and 
he with me, in a post-chaise. We had 20 miles to go and 20 
back in the same chaise. A bad road, and rain all the day. 
We put up at the White Hart, took another chaise, went round ^ 

68 Rural Rides 

and saw the farms, through the window of the chaise, having 
stopped at a little public-house to ask which were they, and 
having stopped now and then to get a sample out of the sheaves 
of wheat, came back to the White Hart, after being absent only 
about an hour and a half, got our dinner, and got back to Worth 
before it was dark; and never asked, and never intended to 
ask, one single question of any human being as to the conduct 
or character of the Ellmans. Indeed the evidence of the elder 
Mr. Ellman was so fair, so honest, and so useful, particularly as 
relating to the labourers, that I could not possibly suspect him 
of being a cruel or hard master. He told the committee that 
when he began business, forty-five years ago, every man in the 
parish brewed his own beer, and that now, not one man did it, 
unless he gave him the malt! Why, here was by far the most 
valuable part of the whole volume of evidence. Then, Mr. 
Ellman did not present a parcel of estimates and God knows 
what; but a plain and honest statement of facts, the rate of day 
wages, of job wages, for a long series of years, by which it clearly 
appeared how the labourer had been robbed and reduced to 
misery, and how the poor-rates had been increased. He did not, 
like Mr. George and other Bull-frogs, sink these interesting 
facts; but honestly told the truth. Therefore, whatever I 
might think of his endeavours to uphold the mischievous errors 
of Webb Hall, I could have no suspicion that he was a hard 

Wednesday, 9 Jan. 1822. 

The meeting and the dinner are now over. Mr. Davies Giddy 
was in the chair: the place the County Hall. A Mr. Partington, 
a pretty little oldish smart truss nice cockney-looking gentle- 
man, with a yellow and red handkerchief round his neck, moved 
the petition, which was seconded by Lord Chichester, who 
lives in the neighbourhood. Much as I had read of that great 
doctor of virtual representation and Royal Commissioner of 
Inimitable Bank Notes, Mr. Davies Giddy, I had never seen him 
before. He called to my mind one of those venerable persons 
who administer spiritual comfort to the sinners of the " sister- 
kingdom; " and, whether I looked at the dress or the person, I 
could almost have sworn that it was the identical Father Luke 
that I saw about twenty-three years ago, at Philadelphia, in the 
farce of the Poor Soldier. Mr. Blackman (of Lewes I believe) 
disapproved of the petition, and in a speech of considerable 

Lewes 69 

length, and also of considerable ability, stated to the meeting 
that the evils complained of arose from the currency, and not 
from the importation of foreign corn. A Mr. Donavon, an Irish 
gentleman, who, it seems, is a magistrate in this " disturbed 
county," disapproved of discussing anything at such a meeting, 
and thought that the meeting should merely state its distresses, 
and leave it to the wisdom of parliament to discover the remedy. 
Upon which Mr. Chatfield observed; " So, sir, we are in a trap. 
We cannot get ourselves out though we know the way. There 
are others, who have got us in, and are able to get us out, but 
they do not know how. And we are to tell them, it seems, that 
we are in the trap; but are not to tell them the way to get us 
out. I don't like long speeches, sir; but I like common sense." 
This was neat and pithy. Fifty professed orators could not, 
in a whole day, have thrown so much ridicule on the speech of 
Mr. Donavon. A Mr. Mabbott proposed an amendment to 
include all classes of the community, and took a hit at Mr. 
Curteis for his speech at Battle. Mr. Curteis defended himself, 
and I thought very fairly. A Mr. Woodward, who said he was 
a farmer, carried us back to the necessity of the war against 
France; and told us of the horrors of plunder and murder and 
rape that the war had prevented. This gentleman put an end 
to my patience, which Donavon had put to an extremely severe 
test; and so I withdrew. After I went away Mr. Blackman 
proposed some resolutions, which were carried by a great 
majority by show of hands. But pieces of paper were then 
handed about, for the voters to write their names on for and 
against the petition. The greater part of the people were gone 
away by this time; but, at any rate, there were more signatures 
for the petition than for the resolutions. A farmer in Penn- 
sylvania having a visitor, to whom he was willing to show how 
well he treated his negroes as to food, bid the fellows (who were 
at dinner) to ask for a second or third cut of pork if they had not 
enough. Quite surprised at the novelty, but emboldened by a 
repetition of the injunction, one of them did say, " Massa, I 
wants another cut." He had it; but as soon as the visitor was 
gone away, " D n you," says the master, while he belaboured 
him with the " cowskin." " I'll make you know how to under- 
stand me another time ! " The signers of this petition were in 
the dark while the show of hands was going on; but when it 
came to signing they knew well what Massa meant I This is a 
petition to be sure; but, it is no more the petition of the farmers 
in the rapes of Lewes and Pevensey than it is the petition of the 

70 Rural Rides 

mermaids of Lapland. There was a dinner after the meeting 
at the Star Inn, at which there occurred something rather curious 
regarding myself. When at Battle, I had no intention of going 
to Lewes, till on the evening of my arrival at Battle, a gentle- 
man, who had heard of the before-mentioned calumny, observed 
to me that I would do well not to go to Lewes. That very 
observation made me resolve to go. I went, as a spectator, to 
the meeting; and I left no one ignorant of the place where I 
was to be found. I did not covet the noise of a dinner of from 
200 to 300 persons; and I did not intend to go to it; but, being 
pressed to go, I finally went. After some previous common- 
place occurrences, Mr. Kemp, formerly a member for Lewes, 
was called to the chair; and he having given as a toast, " the 
speedy discovery of a remedy for our distresses" Mr. Ebenezer 
Johnstone, a gentleman of Lewes, whom I had never seen or 
heard of until that day, but who, I understand, is a very opulent 
and most respectable man, proposed my health, as that of a 
person likely to be able to point out the wished-for remedy. 
This was the signal for the onset. Immediately upon the toast 
being given, a Mr. Hitchins, a farmer of Seaford, duly prepared 
for the purpose, got upon the table, and, with candle in one hand 
and Register in the other, read the following garbled passage 
from my Letter to Lord Egremont. " But let us hear what the 
younger Ellman said: ' He had seen them employed in drawing 
beach gravel, as had been already described. One of them, the 
leader, worked with a bell about his neck.' Oh! the envy of 
surrounding nations and admiration of the world ! Oh ! what 
a ' glorious constitution ! ' Oh ! what a happy country ! 
Impudent Radicals, to want to reform a parliament, under 
which men enjoy such blessings! On such a subject it is im- 
possible (under Six- Acts) to trust one's pen! However, this I 
will say; that here is much more than enough to make me 
rejoice in the ruin of the farmers; and I do, with all my heart, 
thank God for it; seeing, that it appears absolutely necessary, 
that the present race of them should be totally broken up, in 
Sussex at any rate, in order to put an end to this cruelty and 
insolence towards the labourers, who are by far the greater number ; 
and who are men, and a little better men too, than such employers 
as these, who are, in fact, monsters in human shape I ' 

I had not the Register by me, and could not detect the 
garbling. All the words that I have put in italics, this Hitchins 
left out in the reading. What sort of man he must be the public 
will easily judge. No sooner had Hitchins done, than up started 

Lewes 7 1 

Mr. Ingram, a farmer of Rottendean, who was the second person 
in the drama (for all had been duly prepared), and moved that I 
should be put out of the room I Some few of the Webb Hallites, 
joined by about six or eight of the dark, dirty-faced, half- 
whiskered, tax-eaters from Brighton (which is only eight miles 
off) joined in this cry. I rose, that they might see the man that 
they had to put out. Fortunately for themselves, not one of 
them attempted to approach me. They were like the mice 
that resolved that a bell should be put round the cat's neck ! 
However, a considerable hubbub took place. At last, however, 
the chairman, Mr. Kemp, whose conduct was fair and manly, 
having given my health, I proceeded to address the company 
in substance as stated here below; and, it is curious enough, 
that even those who, upon my health being given, had 
taken their hats and gone out of the room (and amongst 
whom Mr. Ellman the younger was one) came back, formed a 
crowd, and were just as silent and attentive as the rest of the 
company ! 

[NOTE, written at Kensington, 13 Jan. I must here, before 
I insert the speech, which has appeared in the Morning Chronicle, 
the Brighton papers, and in most of the London papers, except 
the base sinking Old Times and the brimstone-smelling Tramper, 
or Traveller, which is, I well know, a mere tool in the hands of 
two snap-dragon Whig - lawyers, whose greediness and folly I 
have so often had to expose, and which paper is maintained by 
a contrivance which I will amply expose in my next; I must, 
before I insert this speech, remark, that Mr. Ellman fie younger 
has, to a gentleman whom I know to be incapable of falsehood, 
disavowed the proceeding of Hitchins; on which I have to 
observe, that the disavowal, to have any weight, must be public, 
or be made to me. 

As to the provocation that I have given the Ellmans, I am, 
upon reflection, ready to confess that I may have laid on the 
lash without a due regard to mercy. The fact is, that I have so 
long had the misfortune to be compelled to keep a parcel of 
badger-hided fellows, like Scarlett, in order, that I am, like a 
drummer that has been used to flog old offenders, become heavy 
handed. I ought to have considered the Ellmans as recruits and 
to have suited my tickler to the tenderness of their backs. 
I hear that Mr. Ingram of Rottendean, who moved for my being 
turned out of the room, and who looked so foolish when he had 
to turn himself out, is an officer of Yeomanry " GavaltryJ" A 
ploughman spoiled! This man would, I dare say, have been 

72 Rural Rides 

a very good husbandman; but the unnatural working of the 
paper-system has sublimated him out of his senses. That 
greater doctor, Mr. Peel, will bring him down again. Mr. 
Hitchins, I am told, after going away, came back, stood on the 
landing-place (the door being open), and, while I was speaking, 
exclaimed, "Oh! the fools! How they open their mouths! 
How they suck it all in." Suck what in, Mr. Hitchins? Was 
it honey that dropped from my lips ? Was it flattery ? Amongst 
other things, I said that I liked the plain names of farmer and 
husbandman better than that of agriculturist ; and the prospect 
I held out to them, was that of a description to catch their 
applause? But this Hitchins seems to be a very silly person 

The following is a portion of the speech : 

The toast having been opposed, and that, too, in the extra- 
ordinary manner we have witnessed, I will, at any rate, with 
your permission, make a remark or two on that manner. If 
the person who has made the opposition had been actuated by 
a spirit of fairness and justice, he would not have confined him- 
self to a detached sentence of the paper from which he has read ; 
but would have taken the whole together; for, by taking a 
particular sentence, and leaving out all the rest, what writing 
is there that will not admit of a wicked interpretation? As to 
the particular part which has been read, I should not, perhaps, 
if I had seen it in print, and had had time to cool a little [it was 
in a Register sent from Norfolk], have sent it forth in terms so 
very general as to embrace all the farmers of this county; but 
as to those of them who put the bell round the labourer's neck, I 
beg leave to be now repeating, in its severest sense, every word 
of the passage that has been read. Born in a farm-house, bred 
up at the plough tail, with a smock-frock on my back, taking 
great delight in all the pursuits of farmers, liking their society, 
and having amongst them my most esteemed friends, it is 
natural that I should feel, and I do feel, uncommonly anxious to 
prevent, as far as I am able, that total ruin which now menaces 
them. But the labourer, was I to have no feeling for him? 
Was not he my countryman too ? And was I not to feel indigna- 
tion against those farmers, who had had the hard-heartedness 
to put the bell round his neck, and thus wantonly insult and 
degrade the class to whose toils they owed their own ease? 
The statement of the fact was not mine; I read it in the news- 
paper as having come from Mr. Ellman the younger; he, in a 

Lewes 73 

very laudable manner, expressed his horror at it; and was not 
I to express indignation at what Mr. Ellman felt horror? That 
gentleman and Mr. Webb Hall may monopolise all the wisdom 
in matters of political economy; but are they, or rather is Mr. 
Ellman alone, to engross all the feeling too? [It was here denied 
that Mr. Ellman had said the bell had been put on by farmers.] 
Very well, then, the complained of passage has been productive 
of benefit to the farmers of this county; for, as the thing stood 
in the newspapers, the natural and unavoidable inference was, 
that that atrocious, that inhuman act, was an act of Sussex 

Thursday, 10 Jan. 1822. 

Lewes is in a valley of the South Downs, this town is at eight 
miles distance, to the south-south-west or thereabouts. There 
is a great extent of rich meadows above and below Lewes. 
The town itself is a model of solidity and neatness. The build- 
ings all substantial to the very outskirts; the pavements good 
and complete; the shops nice and clean; the people well- 
dressed; and, though last not least, the girls remarkably pretty, 
as, indeed, they are in most parts of Sussex; round faces, 
features small, little hands and wrists, plump arms, and bright 
eyes. The Sussex men, too, are remarkable for their good 
looks. A Mr. Baxter, a stationer at Lewes, showed me a 
farmer's account book, which is a very complete thing of the 
kind. The inns are good at Lewes, the people civil and not 
servile, and the charges really (considering the taxes) far below 
what one could reasonably expect. From Lewes to Brighton 
the road winds along between the hills of the South Downs, 
which, in this mild weather, are mostly beautifully green even 
at this season, with flocks of sheep feeding on them. Brighton 
itself lies in a valley cut across at one end by the sea, and its 
extension, or Wen, has swelled up the sides of the hills and has 
run some distance up the valley. The first thing you see in 
approaching Brighton from Lewes, is a splendid horse-barrack 
on one side cf the road, and a heap of low, shabby, nasty houses, 
irregularly built, on the other side. This is always the case 
where there is a barrack. How soon a reformed parliament 
would make both disappear ! Brighton is a very pleasant place. 
For a wen remarkably so. The Kremlin, the very name of 
which has so long been a subject of laughter all over the country, 
lies in the gorge of the valley, and amongst the old houses 

74 Rural Rides 

of the town. The grounds, which cannot, I think, exceed a 
couple or three acres, are surrounded by a wall neither lofty 
nor good-looking. Above this rise some trees, bad in sorts, 
stunted in growth, and dirty with smoke. As to the " palace ' 
as the Brighton newspapers call it, the apartments appear to be 
all upon the ground floor; and, when you see the thing from a 
distance, you think you see a parcel of cradle-spits, of various 
dimensions, sticking up out of the mouths of so many enormous 
squat decanters. Take a square box, the sides of which are 
three feet and a half, and the height a foot and a half. Take 
a large Norfolk-turnip, cut off the green of the leaves, leave the 
stalks 9 inches long, tie these round with a string three inches 
from the top, and put the turnip on the middle of the top of the 
box. Then take four turnips of half the size, treat them in the 
same way, and put them on the corners of the box. Then take 
a considerable number of bulbs of the crown-imperial, the 
narcissus, the hyacinth, the tulip, the crocus, and others; let 
the leaves of each have sprouted to about an inch, more or less 
according to the size of the bulb; put all these, pretty pro- 
miscuously, but pretty thickly, on the top of the box. Then 
stand off and look at your architecture. There ! That's u a 
Kremlin I ' Only you must cut some church-looking windows 
in the sides of the box. As to what you ought to put into the 
box, that is a subject far above my cut. Brighton is naturally 
a place of resort for expectants, and a shifty ugly-looking swarm 
is, of course, assembled here. Some of the fellows, who had 
endeavoured to disturb our harmony at the dinner at Lewes, 
were parading, amongst this swarm, on the cliff. You may 
always know them by their lank jaws, the stiff eners round their 
necks, their hidden or no shirts, their stays, their false shoulders, 
hips and haunches, their half-whiskers, and by their skins, 
colour of veal kidney-suet, warmed a little, and then powdered 
with dirty dust. These vermin excepted, the people at Brighton 
make a very fine figure. The trades-people are very nice in all 
their concerns. The houses are excellent, built chiefly with a 
blue or purple brick; and bow-windows appear to be the general 
taste. I can easily believe this to be a very healthy place: 
the open downs on the one side and the open sea on the other. 
No inlet, cove, or river; and, of course, no swamps. I have 
spent this evening very pleasantly in a company of reformers, 
who, though plain tradesmen and mechanics, know I am quite 
satisfied more about the questions that agitate the country 
than any equal number of lords. 

Battle 75 

Friday, n January, 1822. 

Came home by the way of Cuckfield, Worth, and Red-Hill, 
instead of by Uckfield, Grinstead and Godstone, and got into 
the same road again at Croydon. The roads being nearly 
parallel lines and at no great distance from each other, the 
soil is nearly the same, with the exception of the fine oak 
country between Godstone and Grinstead, which does not go 
so far westward as my homeward bound road, where the land, 
opposite the spot just spoken of, becomes more of a moor than 
a clay, and though there are oaks, they are not nearly so fine 
as those on the other road. The tops are natter; the side 
shoots are sometimes higher than the middle shoot; a certain 
proof that the tap-root has met with something that it does 
not like. I see (Jan. 15) that Mr. Curteis has thought it neces- 
sary to state in the public papers, that he had nothing to do 
with my being at the dinner at Battle ! Who the Devil thought 
he had? Why, was it not an ordinary; and had I not as 
much right there as he? He has said, too, that he did not 
know that I was to be at the dinner. How should he? Why 
was it necessary to apprise him of it any more than the porter 
of the inn? He has said, that he did not hear of any deputation 
to invite me to the dinner, and, " upon inquiry" cannot find 
that there was any. Have I said that there was any invitation 
at all? There was; but I have not said so. I went to the 
dinner for my half-crown like another man, without knowing, 
or caring, who would be at it. But, if Mr. Curteis thought it 
necessary to say so much, he might have said a little more. 
He might have said, that he twice addressed himself to me in 
a very peculiar manner, and that I never addressed myself to 
him except in answer; and, if he had thought " inquiry ' 
necessary upon this subject also, he might have found that, 
though always the first to speak or hold out the hand to a 
hard-fisted artisan or labourer, I never did the same to a man 
of rank or riches in the whole course of my life. Mr. Curteis 
might have said, too, that unless I had gone to the dinner, the 
party would, according to appearances, have been very select; 
that I found him at the head of one of the tables, with less than 
thirty persons in the room; that the number swelled up to 
about one hundred and thirty; that no person was at the other 

7 6 

Rural Rides 

table; that I took my seat at it; and that that table became 
almost immediately crowded from one end to the other. To 
these Mr. Curteis, when his hand was in, might have added, 
that he turned himself in his chair and listened to my speech 
with the greatest attention; that he bade me, by name, good- 
night, when he retired; that he took not a man away with him; 
and that the gentlemen who was called on to replace him in the 
chair (whose name I have forgotten) had got from his seat 
during the evening to come and shake me by the hand. All 
these things Mr. Curteis might have said; but the fact is, he 
has been bullied by the base newspapers, and he has not been 
able to muster up courage to act the manly part, and which, too, 
he would have found to be the wise part in the end. When he 
gave the toast " more money and less taxes," he turned himself 
towards me, and said, " That is a toast, that I am sure, you 
approve of, Mr. Cobbett." To which I answered, " It would be 
made good, sir, if members of parliament would do their duty." 
I appeal to all the gentlemen present for the truth of what I 
say. Perhaps Mr. Curteis, in his heart, did not like to give my 
health. If that was the case, he ought to have left the chair, 
and retired. Straight forward is the best course; and see what 
difficulties Mr. Curteis has involved himself in by not pursuing 
it! I have no doubt that he was agreeably surprised when he 
saw and heard me. Why not say then: " After all that has 
been said about Cobbett, he is a devilish pleasant, frank, and 
clever fellow, at any rate." How much better this would have 
been, than to act the part that Mr. Curteis has acted. The 
editors of the Brighton Chronicle and Lewes Express have, out 
of mere modesty, I dare say, fallen a little into Mr. Curteis's 
strain. In closing their account (in their paper of the i5th) 
of the Lewes meeting, they say, that I addressed the company 
at some length, as reported in their supplement published on 
Thursday the loth. And then they think it necessary to add: 
" For ourselves, we can say, that we never saw Mr. Cobbett 
until the meeting at Battle." Now, had it not been for pure 
maiden-like bashfulness, they would, doubtless, have added, 
that when they did see me, they were profuse in expressions of 
their gratitude to me for having merely named their paper in my 
Register, a thing, which, as I told them, I myself had forgotten. 
When, too, they were speaking, in reference to a speech made 
in the hall, of " one of the finest specimens of oratory that 
has ever been given in any assembly," it was, without doubt, 

Battle 77 

out of pure compassion for the perverted taste of their Lewes 
readers, that they suppressed the fact, that the agent of the 
paper at Lewes sent them word, that it was useless for them 
to send any account of the meeting, unless that account con- 
tained Mr. Cobbett's speech; that he, the agent, could have 
sold a hundred papers that morning, if they had contained 
Mr. Cobbett's speech; but could not sell one without it. I 
myself, by mere accident, heard this message delivered to a 
third person by their agent at Lewes. And, as I said before, 
it must have been pure tenderness towards their readers that 
made the editors suppress a fact so injurious to the reputation 
of those readers in point of taste I However, at last, these editors 
seem to have triumphed over all feelings of this sort; for, having 
printed off a placard, advertising their supplement, in which 
placard no menion was made of me, they, grown bold all of a 
sudden, took a painting brush, and in large letters, put into 
their placard, " Mr. Cobbett's Speech at Lewes ; " so that, at a 
little distance, the placard seemed to relate to nothing else; 
and there was " the finest specimen of oratory " left to find 
its way into the world under the auspices of my rustic harangue. 
Good God ! What will this world come to ! We shall, by and 
by, have to laugh at the workings of envy in the very worms 
that we breed in our bodies ! - - The fast-sinking Old Times 
newspaper, its cat-and-dog opponent the New Times, the 
Courier, and the Whig - lawyer Tramper, called the Traveller ; 
the fellows who conduct these vehicles; these wretched fellows, 
their very livers burning with envy, have hasted to inform their 
readers, that " they have authority to state that Lord Ash- 
burnham and Mr. Fuller were not present at the dinner at 
Battle where Cobbett's health was drunk." These fellows have 
now " authority " to state, that there were no two men who 
dined at Battle, that I should not prefer as companions to Lord 
Ashburnham and Mr. Fuller, commonly called " Jack Fuller/' 
seeing that I am no admirer of lofty reserve, and that, of all things 
on earth, I abhor a head like a drum, all noise and emptiness. 
These scribes have also " authority " to state, that they amuse 
me and the public too by declining rapidly in their sale from 
their exclusion of my country lectures, which have only begun. 
In addition to this the Tramper editor has " authority " to 
state, that one of his papers of 5th Jan. has been sent to the 
Register office by post, with these words written on it: " This 
scoundrel paper has taken no notice of Mr. Cobbett's speech." 

78 Rural Rides 

All these papers have " authority " to state beforehand, that 
they will insert no account of what shall take place, within these 
three or four weeks, at Huntingdon, at Lynn, at Chichester, and 
other places where I intend to be. And, lastly, tbe editors have 
full " authority " to state, that they may employ, without let or 
molestation of any sort, either private or public, the price of the 
last number that they shall sell in the purchase of hemp or 
ratsbane, as the sure means of a happy deliverance from their 
present state of torment. 




Monday morning, 2ist Jan. 1822. 

CAME from London, yesterday noon, to this town on my way 
to Huntingdon. My road was through Ware. Royston is just 
within the line (on the Cambridgeshire side), which divides 
Hertfordshire from Cambridgeshire. On this road, as on almost 
all the others going from it, the enormous Wen has swelled 
out to the distance of about six or seven miles. The land till 
you come nearly to Ware which is in Hertfordshire, and which 
is twenty-three miles from the Wen, is chiefly a strong and deep 
loam, with the gravel a good distance from the surface. The 
land is good wheat- land; but I observed only three fields of 
Swedish turnips in the 23 miles, and no wheat drilled. The 
wheat is sown on ridges of great width here and there; some- 
times on ridges of ten, at others on ridges of seven, on those of 
five, four, three, and even two, feet wide. Yet the bottom is 
manifestly not very wet generally; and that there is not a 
bottom of clay is clear from the poor growth of the oak trees. 
All the trees are shabby in this country; and the eye is in- 
cessantly offended by the sight of pollards, which are seldom 
suffered to disgrace even the meanest lands in Hampshire or 
Sussex. As you approach Ware the bottom becomes chalk of a 
dirtyish colour, and, in some parts, far below the surface. After 
you quit Ware, which is a mere market town, the land grows by 
degrees poorer; the chalk lies nearer and nearer to the surface, 
till you come to the open common-fields within a few miles of 
Royston. Along here the land is poor enough. It is not the 
stiff red loam mixed with large blue-grey flints, lying upon the 
chalk, such as you see in the north of Hampshire; but a whitish 
sort of clay, with little yellow flattish stones amongst it; sure 
signs of a hungry soil. Yet this land bears wheat sometimes. 
Royston is at the foot of this high poor land ; or rather in a 
dell, the open side of which looks towards the North. It is a 
common market town. Not mean, but having nothing of 
beauty about it; and having on it, on three of the sides out of 

8o Rural Rides 

the four, those very ugly things, common-fields, which have all 
the nakedness, without any of the smoothness, of Downs. 

Tuesday morning, 22 Jan. 1822. 

Immediately upon quitting Royston, you come along, for a 
considerable distance, with enclosed fields on the left and open 
common-fields on the right. Here the land is excellent. A 
dark, rich loam, free from stones, on chalk beneath at a great 
distance. The land appears, for a mile or two, to resemble 
that at and near Faversham in Kent, which I have before 
noticed. The fields on the left seem to have been enclosed by 
act of parliament; and they certainly are the most beautiful 
tract of fields that I ever saw. Their extent may be from ten 
to thirty acres each. Divided by quick-set hedges, exceedingly 
well planted and raised. The whole tract is nearly a perfect 
level. The cultivation neat, and the stubble heaps, such as 
remain out, giving proof of great crops of straw, while, on land 
with a chalk bottom, there is seldom any want of a proportionate 
quantity of grain. Even here, however, I saw but few Swedish 
turnips, and those not good. Nor did I see any wheat drilled; 
and observed, that, in many parts, the broad-cast sowing had 
been performed in a most careless manner, especially at about 
three miles from Royston, where some parts of the broad lands 
seemed to have had the seed flung along them with a shovel, 
while other parts contained only here and there a blade; or, 
at least, were so thinly supplied as to make it almost doubtful 
whether they had not been wholly missed. In some parts, the 
middles only of the ridges were sown thickly. This is shocking 
husbandry. A Norfolk or a Kentish farmer would have sowed 
a bushel and a half of seed to the acre here, and would have 
had a far better plant of wheat. About four miles, I think it is, 
from Royston you come to the estate of Lord Hardwicke. You 
see the house at the end of an avenue about two miles long, 
which, however, wants the main thing, namely, fine and lofty 
trees. The soil here begins to be a very stiff loam at top; clay 
beneath for a considerable distance; and, in some places, beds 
of yellow gravel with very large stones mixed in it. The land 
is generally cold; a great deal of draining is wanted; and yet, 
the bottom is such as not to be favourable to the growth of the 
oak, of which sort I have not seen one handsome tree since I left 
London. A grove, such as I saw at Weston in Herefordshire, 

Huntingdon 81 

would, here, be a thing to attract the attention of all ranks 
and all ages. What, then, would they say, on beholding a 
wood of oaks, hickories, chestnuts, walnuts, locusts, gum-trees, 
and maples in America! Lord Hardwicke's avenue appears to 
be lined with elms chiefly. They are shabby. He might have 
had ash ; for the ash will grow anywhere ; on sand, on gravel, 
on clay, on chalk, or in swamps. It is surprising that those 
who planted these rows of trees did not observe how well the 
ash grows here! In the hedge-rows, in the plantations, every- 
where the ash is fine. The ash is the hardiest of all our large 
trees. Look at trees on any part of the sea coast. You will 
see them all, even the firs, lean from the sea breeze, except the 
ash. You will see the oak shaved up on the side of the breeze. 
But the ash stands upright, as if in a warm woody dell. We 
have no tree that attains a greater height than the ash; and 
certainly none that equals it in beauty of leaf. It bears pruning 
better than any other tree. Its timber is one of the most useful; 
and as underwood and fire-wood it far exceeds all others of 
English growth. From the trees of an avenue like that of Lord 
Hardwicke a hundred pounds' worth of fuel might, if the trees 
were ash, be cut every year in prunings necessary to preserve 
the health and beauty of the trees. Yet, on this same land, 
has his lordship planted many acres of larches and firs. These 
appear to have been planted about twelve years. If instead of 
these he had planted ash, four years from the seed bed and 
once removed; had cut them down within an inch of the ground 
the second year after planting; and had planted them at four 
feet apart, he would now have had about six thousand ash-poles, 
on an average twelve feet long, on each acre of land in his 
plantation; which, at three-halfpence each, would have been 
worth somewhere nearly forty pounds an acre. He might now 
have cut the poles, leaving about 600 to stand upon an acre 
to come to trees ; and, while these were growing to timber, the 
underwood would, for poles, hoops, broomsticks, spars, rods, 
and faggots, have been worth twenty-five or thirty pounds an 
acre every ten years. Can beggarly stuff, like larches and firs, 
ever be profitable to this extent? Ash is timber, fit for the 
wheelwright, at the age of twenty years, or less. What can you 
do with a rotten fir thing at that age? This estate of Lord 
Hardwicke appears to be very large. There is a part which is, 
apparently, in his own hands, as, indeed, the whole must soon 
be, unless he give up all idea of rent, or unless he can choack off 
the fundholder or get again afloat on the sea of paper-money. 

82 Rural Rides 

In this part of his land there is a fine piece of Lucerne in rows 
at about eighteen inches distant from each other. They are 
now manuring it with burnt-earth mixed with some dung; and 
I see several heaps of burnt-earth hereabouts. The directions 
for doing this are contained in my Year's Residence, as taught 
me by Mr. William Gauntlet, of Winchester. The land is, all 
along here, laid up in those wide and high ridges, which I saw 
in Gloucestershire, going from Gloucester to Oxford, as I have 
already mentioned. These ridges are ploughed back or down ; 
but they are ploughed up again for every sowing. At an inn 
near Lord Hardwicke's I saw the finest parcel of dove-house 
pigeons I ever saw in my life. Between this place and Hunting- 
don is the village of Caxton, which very much resembles almost 
a village of the same size in Picardy, where I saw the women 
dragging harrows to harrow in the corn. Certainly this village 
resembles nothing English, except some of the rascally rotten 
boroughs in Cornwall and Devonshire, on which a just Provi- 
dence seems to have entailed its curse. The land just about 
here does seem to be really bad. The face of the country is 
naked. The few scrubbed trees that now and then meet the 
eye, and even the quick-sets, are covered with a yellow moss. 
All is bleak and comfortless; and, just on the most dreary part 
of this most dreary scene, stands almost opportunely, " Caxton 
Gibbet" tendering its friendly one arm to the passers-by. It has 
recently been fresh-painted, and written on in conspicuous 
characters, for the benefit, I suppose, of those who cannot exist 
under the thought of wheat at four shillings a bushel. Not far 
from this is a new house, which, the coachman says, belongs to 
a Mr. Cheer, who, if report speaks truly, is not, however, not- 
withstanding his name, guilty of the sin of making people either 
drunkards or gluttons. Certainly the spot, on which he has 
built his house, is one of the most ugly that I ever saw. Few 
spots have everything that you could wish to find; but this, 
according to my judgment, has everything that every man of 
ordinary taste would wish to avoid. The country changes but 
little till you get quite to Huntingdon. The land is generally 
quite open, or in large fields. Strong wheat-land, that wants 
a good deal of draining. Very few turnips of any sort are 
raised; and, of course, few sheep and cattle kept. Few trees, 
and those scrubbed. Few woods, and those small. Few hills, 
and those hardly worthy of the name. All which, when we see 
them, make us cease to wonder, that this country is so famous 
for fox-hunting. Such it has doubtless been, in all times, and 

Huntingdon 8 3 

o o 

to this circumstance Huntingdon, that is to say, Huntingdun, 
or Huntingdown, unquestionably owes its name; because down 
does not mean unploughed land, but open and unsheltered land, 
and the Saxon word is dun. When you come down near to the 
town itself, the scene suddenly, totally, and most agreeably, 
changes. The River Ouse separates Godmanchester from 
Huntingdon, and there is, I think, no very great difference in 
the population of the two. Both together do not make up a 
population of more than about five thousand souls. Huntingdon 
is a slightly built town, compared with Lewes, for instance. 
The houses are not in general so high, nor made of such solid and 
costly materials. The shops are not so large and their contents 
not so costly. There is not a show of so much business and so 
much opulence. But Huntingdon is a very clean and nice 
place, contains many elegant houses, and the environs are 
beautiful. Above and below the bridge, under which the Ouse 
passes, are the most beautiful, and by far the most beautiful, 
meadows that I ever saw in my life. The meadows at Lewes, 
at Guildford, at Farnham, at Winchester, at Salisbury, at 
Exeter, at Gloucester, at Hereford, and even at Canterbury, are 
nothing, compared with those of Huntingdon in point of beauty. 
Here are no reeds, here is no sedge, no unevennesses of any sort. 
Here are bowling-greens of hundreds of acres in extent, with a 
river winding through them, full to the brink. One of these 
meadows is the race-course ; and so pretty a spot, so level, so 
smooth, so green, and of such an extent I never saw, and never 
expected to see. From the bridge you look across the valleys, 
first to the west and then to the east; the valleys terminate at 
the foot of rising ground, well set with trees, from amongst 
which church spires raise their heads here and there. I think it 
would be very difficult to find a more delightful spot than this 
in the world. To my fancy (and every one to his taste) the 
prospect from this bridge far surpasses that from Richmond 
Hill. All that I have yet seen of Huntingdon I like exceedingly. 
It is one of those pretty, clean, unstenched, unconfmed places 
that tend to lengthen life and make it happy. 




19 June, 1822. 

FROM Kensington to this place, through Edgware, Stanmore, 
and Watford, the crop is almost entirely hay, from fields of 
permanent grass, manured by dung and other matter brought 
from the Wen. Near the Wen, where they have had the first 
haul of the Irish and other perambulating labourers, the hay 
is all in rick. Some miles further down it is nearly all in. 
Towards Stanmore and Watford, a third, perhaps, of the grass 
remains to be cut. It is curious to see how the thing regulates 
itself. We saw, all the way down, squads of labourers, of 
different departments, migrating from tract to tract; leaving 
the cleared fields behind them and proceeding on towards the 
work to be yet performed; and then, as to the classes of 
labourers, the mowers, with their scythes on their shoulders, 
were in front, going on towards the standing crops, while the 
hay-makers were coming on behind towards the grass already 
cut or cutting. The weather is fair and warm; so that the 
pu' lie-houses on the road are pouring out their beer pretty 
fast, and are getting a good share of the wages of these thirsty 
souls. It is an exchange of beer for sweat; but the tax-eaters 
get, after all, the far greater part of the sweat; for, if it were 
not for the tax, the beer would sell for three-halfpence a pot, 
instead of fivepence. Of this threepence-halfpenny the Jews 
and jobbers get about twopence-halfpenny. It is curious to 
observe how the different labours are divided as to the nations. 
The mowers are all English ; the haymakers all Irish. Scotch- 
men toil hard enough in Scotland; but when they go from 
home it is not to work, if you please. They are found in gardens, 
and especially in gentlemen's gardens. Tying up flowers, 
picking dead leaves off exotics, peeping into melon-frames, 
publishing the banns of marriage between the " male ' and 
"female " blossoms, tap-tap-tapping against a wall with a 


St. Albans 85 

hammer that weighs half an ounce. They have backs as straight 
and shoulders as square as heroes of Waterloo; and who can 
blame them? The digging, the mowing, the carrying of loads; 
all the break-back and sweat-extracting work they leave to be 
performed by those who have less prudence than they have. 
The great purpose of human art, the great end of human study, 
is to obtain ease, to throw the burden of labour from our own 
shoulders, and fix it on those of others. The crop of hay is very 
large, and that part which is in, is in very good order. We shall 
have hardly any hay that is not fine and sweet; and we shall 
have it, carried to London, at less, I dare say, than 3 a load, 
that is 18 cwt. So that here the evil of " over-production ' 
will be great indeed ! Whether we shall have any projects for 
taking hay into pawn is more than any of us can say; for, after 
what we have seen, need we be surprised, if we were to hear it 
proposed to take butter and even milk into pawn? In after 
times, the mad projects of these days will become proverbial. 
The oracle and the over-production men will totally supplant 
the March-hare. This is, all along here, and especially as far as 
Stanmore, a very dull and ugly country: flat, and all grass - 
fields and elms. Few birds of any kind, and few constant 
labourers being wanted; scarcely any cottages and gardens, 
which form one of the great beauties of a country. Stanmore 
is on a hill; but it looks over a country of little variety, though 
rich. W T hat a difference between the view here and those which 
carry the eye over the coppices, the corn-fields, the hop-gardens 
and the orchards of Kent ! It is miserable land from Stanmore 
to Watford, where we get into Hertfordshire. Hence to Saint 
Albans there is generally chalk at bottom with a red tenacious 
loam at top, with flints, grey on the outside and dark blue 
within. W'herever this is the soil, the wheat grows well. The 
crops, and especially that of the barley, are very fine and very 
forward. The wheat, in general, does not appear to be a heavy 
crop; but the ears seem as if they would be full from bottom 
to top ; and we have had so much heat, that the grain is pretty 
sure to be plump, let the weather, for the rest of the summer, 
be what it may. The produce depends more on the weather, 
previous to the coming out of the ear, than on the subsequent 
weather. In the northern parts of America, where they have, 
some years, not heat enough to bring the Indian corn to per- 
fection, I have observed, that, if they have about fifteen days 
with the thermometer at ninety, before the ear makes its ap- 
pearance, the crop never fails, though the weather may be ever 

86 Rural Rides 

so unfavourable afterwards. This allies with the old remark 
of the country people in England, that " May makes or mars 
the wheat; " for it is in May that the ear and the grains are 


24 June, 1822. 

Set out at four this morning for Redbourn, and then turned off 
to the westward to go to High Wycombe, through Hempstead 
and Chesham. The wheat is good all the way. The barley and 
oats good enough till I came to Hempstead. But the land along 
here is very fine : a red tenacious flinty loam upon a bed of chalk 
at a yard or two beneath, which, in my opinion, is the very best 
corn land that we have in England. The fields here, like those in 
the rich parts of Devonshire, will bear perpetual grasj. Any of 
them will become upland meadows. The land is, in short, 
excellent, and it is a real corn-country. The trees from Red- 
bourn to Hempstead are very fine; oaks, ashes, and beeches. 
Some of the finest of each sort, and the very finest ashes I ever 
saw in my life. They are in great numbers, and make the fields 
look most beautiful. No villainous things of the fir-tribe offend 
the eye here. The custom is in this part of Hertfordshire (and 
I am told it continues into Bedfordshire) to leave a border round 
the ploughed part of the fields to bear grass and to make hay 
from, so that, the grass being now made into hay, every corn 
field has a closely mowed grass walk about ten feet wide all 
round it, between the corn and the hedge. This is most beauti- 
ful ! The hedges are now full of the shepherd's rose, honeysuckles, 
and all sorts of wild flowers ; so that you are upon a grass walk, 
with this most beautiful of all flower gardens and shrubberies on 
your one hand, and with the corn on the other. And thus you 
go from field to field (on foot or on horseback), the sort of corn, 
the sort of underwood and timber, the shape and size of the 
fields, the height of the hedge-rows, the height of the trees, all 
continually varying. Talk of pleasure-grounds indeed! What 
that man ever invented, under the name of pleasure-grounds, 
can equal these fields in Hertfordshire? This is a profitable 
system too; for the ground under hedges bears little corn, and 
it bears very good grass. Something, however, depends on 
the nature of the soil : for it is not all land that will bear grass, 
fit for hay, perpetually; and, when the land will not do that, 
these headlands would only be a harbour for weeds and couch- 
grass, the seeds of which would fill the fields with their mis- 

Chesham 87 

chievous race. Mr. Tull has observed upon the great use of 
headlands. It is curious enough, that these headlands cease 
soon after you get into Buckinghamshire. At first you see now 
and then a field without a grass headland; then it comes to now 
and then a field with one; and, at the end of five or six miles, 
they wholly cease. Hempstead is a very pretty town, with 
beautiful environs, and there is a canal that comes near it, and 
that goes on to London. It lies at the foot of a hill. It is clean, 
substantially built, and a very pretty place altogether. Between 
Hempstead and Chesham the land is not so good. I came into 
Buckinghamshire before I got into the latter place. Passed 
over two commons. But still the land is not bad. It is drier; 
nearer the chalk, and not so red. The wheat continues good, 
though not heavy; but the barley, on the land that is not very 
good, is light, begins to look blue, and the backward oats are very 
short. On the still thinner lands the barley and oats must be a 
very short crop. People do not sow turnips, the ground is so 
dry, and I should think that the swede-crop will be very short; 
for swedes ought to be up at least, by this time. If I had swedes 
to sow, I would sow them now, and upon ground very deeply 
and finely broken. I would sow directly after the plough, not 
being half an hour behind it, and would roll the ground as hard 
as possible. I am sure the plants would come up, even without 
rain. And the moment the rain came, they would grow 
famously. Chesham is a nice little town, lying in a deep and 
narrow valley, with a stream of water running through it. All 
along the country that I have come, the labourers' dwellings 
are good. They are made of what they call brick-nog ; that is to 
say, a frame of wood, and a single brick thick, filling up the 
vacancies between the timber. They are generally covered 
with tile. Not pretty by any means; but they are good; and 
you see here, as in Kent, Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire, and, 
indeed, in almost every part of England, that most interesting 
of all objects, that which is such an honour to England, and that 
which distinguishes it from all the rest of the world, namely, 
those neatly kept and productive little gardens round the labourers' 
houses, which are seldom unornamented with more or less of 
flowers. We have only to look at these to know what sort of 
people English labourers are: these gardens are the answer to 
the Malthuses and the Scarletts. Shut your mouths, you Scotch 
economists; cease bawling, Mr. Brougham, and you Edinburgh 
Reviewers, till you can show us something, not like, but approach- 
ing towards a likeness of this I 

Rural Rides 

The orchards all along this country are by no means bad. 
Not like those of Herefordshire and the north of Kent; but a 
great deal better than in many other parts of the kingdom. 
The cherry-trees are pretty abundant and particularly good. 
There are not many of the merries, as they call them in Kent 
and Hampshire; that is to say, the little black cherry, the name 
of which is a corruption from the French merise, in the singular, 
and merises in the plural. I saw the little boys, in many places, 
set to keep the birds off the cherries, which reminded me of the 
time when I followed the same occupation, and also of the toll 
that I used to take in payment. The children are all along 
here, I mean the little children, locked out of the doors, while 
the fathers and mothers are at work in the fields. I saw many 
little groups of this sort; and this is one advantage of having 
plenty of room on the outside of a house. I never saw the 
country children better clad, or look cleaner and fatter than they 
look here, and I have the very great pleasure to add, that I do 
not think I saw three acres of potatoes in this whole tract 
of fine country, from St. Albans to Redbourn, from Redbourn 
to Hempstead, and from Hempstead to Chesham. In all the 
houses where I have been, they use the roasted rye instead of 
coffee or tea, and I saw one gentleman who had sown a piece of 
rye (a grain not common in this part of the country) for the 
express purpose. It costs about three farthings a pound, 
roasted and ground into powder. The pay of the labourers 
varies from eight to twelve shillings a week. Grass mowers get 
two shillings-day, two quarts of what they call strong beer, and 
as much small beer as they can drink. After quitting Chesham, 
I passed through a wood, resembling, as nearly as possible, the 
woods in the more cultivated parts of Long Island, with these 
exceptions, that there the woods consist of a great variety of 
trees, and of more beautiful foliage. Here there are only two 
sorts of trees, beech and oak: but the wood at bottom was 
precisely like an American wood: none of that stuff which we 
generally call underwood : the trees standing very thick in some 
places: the shade so complete as never to permit herbage below: 
no bushes of any sort; and nothing to impede your steps but 
little spindling trees here and there grown up from the seed. 
The trees here are as lofty, too, as they generally are in the Long 
Island woods, and as straight, except in cases where you find 
clumps of the tulip-tree, which sometimes go much above a 
hundred feet high as straight as a line. The oaks seem here to 
vie with the beeches in size as well as in loftiness and straightness. 

High Wy combe 89 

I saw several oaks which I think were more than eighty feet 
high, and several with a clear stem of more than forty feet, being 
pretty nearly as far through at that distance from the ground 
as at bottom; and I think I saw more than one, with a clear 
stem of fifty feet, a foot and a half through at that distance from 
the ground. This is by far the finest plank oak that I ever saw 
in England. The road through the wood is winding and brings 
you out at the corner of a field, lying sloping to the south, three 
sides of it bordered by wood and the field planted as an orchard. 
This is precisely what you see in so many thousands of places in 
America. I had passed through Hempstead a little while before, 
which certainly gave its name to the township in which I lived in 
Long Island, and which I used to write Hampstead, contrary to 
the orthography of the place, never having heard of such a place 
as Hempstead in England. Passing through Hempstead I gave 
my mind a toss back to Long Island, and this beautiful wood 
and orchard really made me almost conceit that I was there, and 
gave rise to a thousand interesting and pleasant reflections. 
On quitting the wood I crossed the great road from London to 
Wendover, went across the park of Mr. Drake, and up a steep 
hill towards the great road leading to Wycombe. Mr. Drake's 
is a very beautiful place, and has a great deal of very fine timber 
upon it. I think I counted pretty nearly 200 oak trees, worth, 
on an average, five pounds apiece, growing within twenty 
yards of the road that I was going along. Mr. Drake has some 
thousands of these, I dare say, besides his beech; and, therefore, 
he will be able to stand a tug with the fundholders for some time. 
When I got to High Wycombe, I found everything a week earlier 
than in the rich part of Hertfordshire. High Wycombe, as if 
the name was ironical, lies along the bottom of a narrow and 
deep valley, the hills on each side being very steep indeed. The 
valley runs somewhere about from east to west, and the wheat 
on the hills facing the south will, if this weather continue, be 
fit to reap in ten days. I saw one field of oats that a bold farmer 
would cut next Monday. Wycombe is a very fine and very 
clean market town; the people all looking extremely well; the 
girls somewhat larger featured and larger boned than those in 
Sussex, and not so fresh-coloured and bright-eyed. More like 
the girls of America, and that is saying quite as much as any 
reasonable woman can expect or wish for. The hills on the 
south side of Wycombe form a park and estate now the property 
of Smith, who was a banker or stocking-maker at Nottingham, 
who was made a lord in the time of Pitt, and who purchased this 

* D 6 3 8 

90 Rural Rides 

estate of the late Marquis of Landsdowne, one of whose titles 
is Baron Wycombe. VVycombe is one of those famous things 
called boroughs, and 34 votes in this borough send Sir John 
Dashwood and Sir Thomas Baring to the " collective wisdom." 
The landlord where I put up " remembered ' the name of 
Dashwood, but had "forgotten " who the " other " was! There 
would be no forgettings of this sort, if these thirty-four, together 
with their representatives, were called upon to pay the share 
of the national debt due from High Wycombe. Between High 
Wycombe and Beaconsfield, where the soil is much about that 
last described, the wheat continued to be equally early with 
that about Wycombe. As I approached Uxbridge I got off 
the chalk upon a gravelly bottom, and then from Uxbridge to 
Shepherd's Bush on a bottom of clay. Grass-fields and elm- 
trees, with here and there a wheat or a bean-field, form the 
features of this most ugly country, which would have been 
perfectly unbearable after quitting the neighbourhoods of Hemp- 
stead, Chesham and High Wycombe, had it not been for the 
diversion I derived from meeting, in all the various modes of 
conveyance, the cockneys going to Baling Fair, which is one of 
those things which nature herself would almost seem to have 
provided for drawing off the matter and giving occasional relief 
to the overcharged Wen. I have traversed to-day what I think 
may be called an average of England as to corn-crops. Some 
of the best, certainly; and pretty nearly some of the worst. 
My observation as to the wheat is, that it will be a fair and 
average crop, and extremely early; because, though it is not 
a heavy crop, though the ears are not long they will be full; 
and the earliness seems to preclude the possibility of blight, 
and to ensure plump grain. The barley and oats must, upon 
an average, be a light crop. The peas a light crop; and as to 
beans, unless there have been rains where beans are mostly 
grown, they cannot be half a crop; for they will not endure 
heat. I tried masagan beans in Long Island, and could not get 
them to bear more than a pod or two upon a stem. Beans love 
cold land and shade. The earliness of the harvest (for early it 
must be) is always a clear advantage. This fine summer, 
though it may not lead to a good crop of turnips, has already 
put safe into store such a crop of hay as I believe England 
never saw before. Looking out of the window, I see the harness 
of the Wiltshire wagon-horses (at this moment going by) covered 
with the chalk-dust of that county; so that the fine weather 
continues in the west. The saintfoin hay has all been got in, 

Uxbridge 91 

in the chalk countries, without a drop of wet; and when that is 
the case, the farmers stand in no need of oats. The grass crops 
have been large everywhere, as well as got in in good order. 
The fallows must be in excellent order. It must be a sloven 
indeed that will sow his wheat in foul ground next autumn; 
and the sun, where the fallows have been well stirred, will have 
done more to enrich the land than all the dung-carts and all 
the other means employed by the hand of man. Such a summer 
is a great blessing; and the only drawback is, the dismal 
apprehension of not seeing such another for many years to come. 
It is favourable for poultry, for colts, for calves, for lambs, for 
young animals of all descriptions, not excepting the game. The 
partridges will be very early. They are now getting into the 
roads with their young ones, to roll in the dust. The first 
broods of partridges in England are very frequently killed by 
the wet and cold; and this is one reason why the game is not 
so plenty here as it is in countries more blest with sun. This 
will not be the case this year; and, in short, this is one of the 
finest years that I ever knew. 




Wednesday, 2$th Sept. 1822. 

THIS morning I set off, in rather a drizzling rain, from Ken- 
sington, on horseback, accompanied by my son, with an inten- 
tion of going to Uphusband, near Andover, which is situated 
in the north-west corner of Hampshire. It is very true that 
I could have gone to Uphusband by travelling only about 
66 miles, and in the space of about eight hours. But my 
object was, not to see inns and turnpike-roads, but to see the 
country ; to see the farmers at home, and to see the labourers 
in the fields; and to do this you must go either on foot or on 
horseback. With a gig you cannot get about amongst bye- 
lanes and across fields, through bridle-ways and hunting-gates; 
and to tramp it is too slow, leaving the labour out of the question, 
and that is not a trifle. 

We went through the turnpike-gate at Kensington, and 
immediately turned down the lane to our left, proceeded on 
to Fulham, crossed Putney-bridge into Surrey, went over 
Barnes Common, and then, going on the upper side of Rich- 
mond, got again into Middlesex, by crossing Richmond-bridge. 
All Middlesex is ugly, notwithstanding the millions upon millions 
which it is continually sucking up from the rest of the kingdom; 
and, though the Thames and its meadows now and then are 
seen from the road, the country is not less ugly from Richmond 
to Chertsey-bridge, through Twickenham, Hampton, Sunbury 
and Sheperton, than it is elsewhere. The soil is a gravel at 
bottom with a black loam at top near the Thames; further 
back it is a sort of spewy gravel; and the buildings consist 
generally of tax-eaters' showy, tea-garden-like boxes, and of 
shabby dwellings of labouring people who, in this part of the 
country, look to be about half Saint Giles's : dirty, and have 
every appearance of drinking gin. 

At Chertsey, where we came into Surrey again, there was 


Kensington to Uphusband 93 

a fair for horses, cattle and pigs. I did not see any sheep. 
Everything was exceedingly dull. Cart colts, two and three 
years old, were selling for less than a third of what they sold 
for in 1813. The cattle were of an inferior description to be 
sure; but the price was low almost beyond belief. Cows, which 
would have sold for 15 in 1813, did not get buyers at 3. I 
had no time to inquire much about the pigs, but a man told me 
that they were dirt-cheap. Near Chertsey is Saint Anne's Hill 
and some other pretty spots. Upon being shown this hill I was 
put in mind of Mr. Fox; and that brought into my head a 
grant that he obtained of Crown lands in this neighbourhood, 
in, I think, 1806. The Duke of York obtained, by Act of 
Parliament, a much larger grant of these lands, at Oatlands, 
in 1804, I think it was. But this was natural enough; this is 
what would surprise nobody. Mr. Fox's was another affair; 
and especially when taken into view with what I am now going 
to relate. In 1804 or 1805, Fordyce, the late Duchess of 
Gordon's brother, was collector-general (or had been) of taxes 
in Scotland, and owed a large arrear to the public. He was 
also surveyor of Crown lands. The then Opposition were for 
hauling him up. Pitt was again in power. Mr. Creevey was 
to bring forward the motion in the House of Commons, and 
Mr. Fox was to support it, and had actually spoken once or 
twice, in a preliminary way, on the subject. Notice of the 
motion was regularly given; it was put off from time to time, 
and, at last, dropped, Mr. Fox declining to support it. I have 
no books at hand; but the affair will be found recorded in 
the Register. It was not owing to Mr. Creevey that the thing 
did not come on. I remerrber well that it was owing to Mr. 
Fox. Other motives were stated; and those others might be 
the real motives; but, at any rate, the next year, or the year 
after, Mr. Fox got transferred to him a part of that estate 
which belongs to the public, and which was once so great, 
called the Crown lands ; and of these lands Fordyce long had 
been, and then was the surveyor. Such are the facts: let the 
reader reason upon them and draw the conclusion. 

This county of Surrey presents to the eye of the traveller 
a greater contrast than any other county in England. It has 
some of the very best and some of the worst lands, not only in 
England, but in the world. We were here upon those of the 
latter description. For five miles on the road towards Guild- 
ford the land is a rascally common covered with poor heath, 
except where the gravel is so near the top as not to surfer even 

94 Rural Rides 

the heath to grow. Here we entered the enclosed lands, which 
have the gravel at bottom, but a nice light, black mould at top; 
in which the trees grow very well. Through bye-lanes and 
bridle-ways we came out into the London road, between Ripley 
and Guildford, and immediately crossing that road, came on 
towards a village called Merrow. We came out into the road 
just mentioned, at the lodge-gates of a Mr. Weston, whose 
mansion and estate have just passed (as to occupancy) into 
the hands of some new man. At Merrow, where we came into 
the Epsom road, we found that Mr. Webb Weston, whose 
mansion and park are a little further on towards London, had 
just walked out, and left it in possession of another new man. 
This gentleman told us, last year, at the Epsom meeting, that 
he was losing his income ; and I told him how it was that he 
was losing it! He is said to be a very worthy man; very 
much respected; a very good landlord; but, I dare say, he is 
one of those who approved of yeomanry cavalry to keep down 
the <; Jacobins and Levellers; " but who, in fact, as I always 
told men of this description, have put down themselves and 
their landlords; for without them this thing never could have 
been done. To ascribe the whole to contrivance would be to 
give to Pitt and his followers too much credit for profundity; 
but, if the knaves who assembled at the Crown and Anchor in 
the Strand, in 1793, to put down, by the means of prosecu- 
tions and spies, those whom they called " Republicans and 
Levellers; " if these knaves had said, " Let us go to work to 
induce the owners and occupiers of the land to convey their 
estates and their capital into our hands," and if the Govern- 
ment had corresponded with them in views, the effect could not 
have been more complete than it has, thus far, been. The 
yeomanry actually, as to the effect, drew their swords to keep 
the reformers at bay, while the tax-eaters were taking away 
the estates and the capital. It was the sheep surrendering up 
the dogs into the hands of the wolves. 

Lord Onslow lives near Merrow. This is the man that was, 
for many years, so famous as a driver of four-in-hand. He 
used to be called Tommy Onslow. He has the character of 
being a very good landlord. I know he called me " a d d 
Jacobin" several years ago, only, I presume, because I was 
labouring to preserve to him the means of still driving four-in- 
hand, while he, and others like him, and their yeomanry cavalry, 
were working as hard to defeat my wishes and endeavours. 
They say here, that, some little time back, his lordship, who 

Kensington to Uphusband 95 

has, at any rate, had the courage to retrench in all sorts of ways, 
was at Guildford in a gig with one horse, at the very moment 
when Spicer, the stockbroker, who was a chairman of the 
committee for prosecuting Lord Cochrane, and who lives at 
Esher, came rattling in with four horses and a couple of out- 
riders ! They relate an observation made by his lordship, which 
may, or may not, be true, and which, therefore, I shall not 
repeat. But, my lord, there is another sort of courage; courage 
other than that of retrenching, that would become you in the 
present emergency: I mean political courage, and especially 
the courage of acknowledging your errors ; confessing that you 
were wrong, when you called the reformers jacobins and levellers; 
the courage of now joining them in their efforts to save their 
country, to regain their freedom, and to preserve to you your 
estate, which is to be preserved, you will observe, by no other 
means than that of a reform of the Parliament. It is now 
manifest, even to fools, that it has been by the instrumentality 
of a base and fraudulent paper-money, that loan-jobbers, stock- 
jobbers, and Jews have got the estates into their hands. With 
what eagerness, in 1797, did the nobility, gentry and clergy 
rush forward to give their sanction and their support to the 
system which then began, and which has finally produced what 
we now behold! They assembled in all the counties, and put 
forth declarations, that they would take the paper of the bank, 
and that they would support the system. Upon this occasion 
the county of Surrey was the very first county; and, on the 
list of signatures, the very first name was Onslow I There may 
be sales and conveyances; there may be recoveries, deeds, and 
other parchments; but this was the real transfer; this was the 
real signing away of the estates. 

To come to Chilworth, which lies on the south side of St. 
Martha's Hill, most people would have gone along the level 
road to Guildford, and come round through Shawford under the 
hills; but we, having seen enough of streets and turnpikes, 
took across over Merrow Down, where the Guildford race- 
course is, and then mounted the " Surrey Hills," so famous for 
the prospects they afford. Here we looked back over Middlesex, 
and into Buckinghamshire and Berkshire, away towards the 
north-west, into Essex and Kent towards the east, over part of 
Sussex to the south, and over part of Hampshire to the west 
and south-west. We are here upon a bed of chalk, where the 
downs always afford good sheep food. We steered for St. 
Martha's Chapel, and went round at the foot of the lofty hill 

96 Rural Rides 

on which it stands. This brought us down the side of a steep 
hill, and along a bridle-way, into the narrow and exquisitely 
beautiful vale of Chilworth, where we were to stop for the night. 
This vale is skirted partly by woodlands and partly by sides of 
hills tilled as corn fields. The land is excellent, particularly 
towards the bottom. Even the arable fields are in some places, 
towards their tops, nearly as steep as the roof of a tiled house; 
and where the ground is covered with woods the ground is still 
more steep. Down the middle of the vale there is a series of 
ponds, or small lakes, which meet your eye, here and there, 
through the trees. Here are some very fine farms, a little strip 
of meadows, some hop-gardens, and the lakes have given rise 
to the establishment of powder-mills and paper-mills. The 
trees of all sorts grow well here; and coppices yield poles for 
the hop-gardens and wood to make charcoal for the powder- 

They are sowing wheat here, and the land, owing to the fine 
summer that we have had, is in a very fine state. The rain, too, 
which, yesterday, fell here in great abundance, has been just in 
time to make a really good wheat-sowing season. The turnips 
all the way that we have come, are good. Rather backward in 
some places; but in sufficient quantity upon the ground, and 
there is yet a good while for them to grow. All the fall fruit 
is excellent, and in great abundance. The grapes are as good 
as those raised under glass. The apples are much richer 
than in ordinary years. The crop of hops has been very fine 
here, as well as everywhere else. The crop not only large, but 
good in quality. They expect to get six pounds a hundred for 
them at Weyhill Fair. That is one more than I think they will 
get. The best Sussex hops were selling in the borough of 
Southwark at three pounds a hundred a few days before 1 left 
London. The Farnham hops may bring double that price; but 
that, I think, is as much as they will; and this is ruin to 
the hop-planter. The tax, with its attendant inconveniences, 
amount to a pound a hundred ; the picking, drying, and bagging 
to 505. The carrying to market not less than 55. Here is the 
sum of 3 105. of the money. Supposing the crop to be half a 
ton to the acre, the bare tillage will be IDS. The poles for an 
acre cannot cost less than 2 a year; that is another 45. to each 
hundred of hops. This brings the outgoings to 825. Then 
comes the manure, then come the poor-rates, and road-rates, 
and county- rates; and if these leave one single farthing for rent 
I think it is strange. 

Kensington to Uphusband 97 

I hear that Mr. Birkbeck is expected home from America! 
It is said that he is coming to receive a large legacy; a thing 
not to be overlooked by a person who lives in a country where 
he can have land for nothing I The truth is, I believe, that there 
has lately died a gentleman, who has bequeathed a part of his 
property to pay the creditors of a relation of his who some years 
ago became a bankrupt, and one of whose creditors Mr. Birk- 
beck was. What the amount may be I know not; but I have 
heard that the bankrupt had a partner at the time of the bank- 
ruptcy; so that there must be a good deal of difficulty in settling 
the matter in an equitable manner. The Chancery would drawl 
it out (supposing the present system to continue) till, in all 
human probability, there would not be as much left for Mr. 
Birkbeck as would be required to pay his way back again to the 
Land of Promise. I hope he is coming here to remain here. 
He is a very clever man, though he has been very abusive and 
very unjust with regard to me. 


Thursday, 26 Sept. 

We started from Chilworth this morning, came down the vale, 
left the village of Shawford to our right, and that of Wonersh 
to our left, and crossing the river Wey, got into the turnpike- 
road between Guildford and Godalming, went on through 
Godalming, and got to Lea, which lies to the north-east snugly 
under Hind-Head, about n o'clock. This was coming only 
about eight miles, a sort of rest after the 32 miles of the day 
before. Coming along the road, a farmer overtook us, and as 
he had known me from seeing me at the meeting at Epsom last 
year, I had a part of my main business to perform, namely, to 
talk politics. He was going to Haslemere Fair. Upon the 
mention of that sink -hole of a borough, which sends, ' as 
dearly as the sun at noonday " the celebrated Charles Long, 
and the scarcely less celebrated Robert Ward, to the celebrated 
House of Commons, we began to talk, as it were, spontaneously 
about Lord Lonsdale and the Lowthers. The farmer wondered 
why the Lowthers, that were the owners of so many farms, 
should be for a system which was so manifestly taking away 
the estates of the landlords and the capital of the farmers, and 
giving them to Jews, loan-jobbers, stock-jobbers, placemen, 
pensioners, sinecure people, and people of the " dead weight." 
But his wonder ceased; his eyes were opened; and "his heart 


Rural Rides 

seemed to burn within him as I talked to him on the way," 
when I explained to him the nature of Crown lands and " Crown 
tenants," and when I described to him certain districts of 
property in Westmoreland and other parts. I had not the 
book in my pocket, but my memory furnished me with quite 
a sufficiency of matter to make him perceive, that, in supporting 
the present system, the Lowthers were by no means so foolish 
as he appeared to think them. From the Lowthers I turned to 
Mr. Poyntz, who lives at Midhurst in Sussex, and whose name 
as a " Crown tenant " I find in a report lately laid before the 
House of Commons, and the particulars of which I will state 
another time for the information of the people of Sussex. I 
used to wonder myself what made Mr. Poyntz call me a jacobin. 
I used to think that Mr. Poyntz must be a fool to support the 
present system. What I have seen in that report convinces 
me that Mr. Poyntz is no fool, as far as relates to his own interest, 
at any rate. There is a mine of wealth in these " Crown lands'* 
Here are farms, and manors, and mines, and woods, and forests, 
and houses, and streets, incalculable in value. What can 
be so proper as to apply this public property towards the dis- 
charge of a part, at least, of that public debt, which is hanging 
round the neck of this nation like a mill-stone? Mr. Ricardo 
proposes to seize upon a part of the private property of ever} 7 
man, to be given to the stock- jobbing race. At an act of 
injustice like this the mind revolts. The foolishness of it, 
besides, is calculated to shock one. But in the public property 
we see the suitable thing. And who can possibly object to this, 
except those who, amongst them, now divide the possession or 
benefit of this property? I have once before mentioned, but 1 
will repeat it, that Marlborough House in Pall Mall, for which 
the Prince of Saxe Coburg pays a rent to the Duke of Marl- 
borough of three thousand pounds a year, is rented of this 
generous public by that most noble duke at the rate of less 
than forty pounds a year. There are three houses in Pall Mall, 
the whole of which pay a rent to the public of about fifteen 
pounds a year, I think it is. I myself, twenty-two years ago, 
paid three hundred pounds a year for one of them, to a man 
that I thought was the owner of them; but I now find that 
these houses belong to the public. The Duke of Buckingham's 
house in Pall Mall, which is one of the grandest in all London , 
and which is not worth less than seven or eight hundred pounds 
a year, belongs to the public. The duke is the tenant; and I 
think he pays for it much less than twenty pounds a year. I 

Kensington to Uphusband 99 

speak from memory here all the way along; and therefore not 
positively; I will, another time, state the particulars from the 
books. The book that I am now referring to is also of a date 
of some years back; but I will mention all the particulars 
another time. Talk of reducing rents, indeed ! Talk of generous 
landlords I It is the public that is the generous landlord. It 
is the public that lets its houses and manors and mines and 
farms at a cheap rate. It certainly would not be so good a 
landlord if it had a reformed Parliament to manage its affairs, 
nor would it suffer so many snug corporations to carry on their 
snugglings in the manner that they do, and therefore it is 
obviously the interest of the rich tenants of this poor public, 
as well as the interest of the snugglers in corporations, to prevent 
the poor public from having such a Parliament. 

We got into free-quarter again at Lea; and there is nothing 
like free-quarter, as soldiers well know. Lea is situated on 
the edge of that immense heath which sweeps down from the 
summit of Hind-Head, across to the north over innumerable 
hills of minor altitude and of an infinite variety of shapes 
towards Farnham, to the north-east, towards the Hog's Back, 
leading from Farnham to Guildford, and to the east, or nearly 
so, towards Godalming. Nevertheless, the inclosed lands at 
Lea are very good and singularly beautiful. The timber of all 
sorts grows well; the land is light, and being free from stones, 
very pleasant to work. If you go southward from Lea about 
a mile you get down into what is called, in the old Acts of 
Parliament, the Weald of Surrey. Here the land is a stiff 
tenacious loam at top with blue and yellow clay beneath. This 
weald continues on eastward, and gets into Sussex near East 
Grinstead: thence it winds about under the hills, into Kent. 
Here the oak grows finer than in any part of England. The 
trees are more spiral in their form. They grow much faster 
than upon any other land. Yet the timber must be better; 
for, in some of the Acts of Queen Elizabeth's reign, it is provided 
that the oak for the royal navy shall come out of the Wealds 
of Surrey, Sussex, or Kent. 

Friday, 27 Sept. 

From Lea we set off this morning about six o'clock to get 
free-quarter again at a worthy old friend's at this nice little 
plain market-town. Our direct road was right over the heath 
through Tilford to Farnham; but we veered a little to the left 

ioo Rural Rides 

after we came to Tilford, at which place on the green we stopped 
to look at an oak tree, which, when I was a little boy, was but 
a very little tree, comparatively, and which is now, take it 
altogether, by far the finest tree that I ever saw in my life. The 
stem or shaft is short; that is to say, it is short before you come 
to the first limbs; but it is full thirty feet round, at about eight 
or ten feet from the ground. Out of the stem there come not 
less than fifteen or sixteen limbs, many of which are from five 
to ten feet round, and each of which would, in fact, be considered 
a decent stick of timber. I am not judge enough of timber to 
say anything about the quantity in the whole tree, but my son 
stepped the ground, and as nearly as we could judge, the dia- 
meter of the extent of the branches was upwards of ninety feet, 
which would make a circumference of about three hundred feet. 
The tree is in full growth at this moment. There is a little hole 
in one of the limbs; but with that exception, there appears not 
the smallest sign of decay. The tree has made great shoots in 
all parts of it this last summer and spring; and there are no 
appearances of white upon the trunk, such as are regarded as 
the symptoms of full growth. There are many sorts of oak in 
England; two very distinct; one with a pale leaf, and one with 
a dark leaf: this is of the pale leaf. The tree stands upon 
Tilford-green, the soil of which is a light loam with a hard sand 
stone a good way beneath, and, probably, clay beneath that. 
The spot where the tree stands is about a hundred and twenty 
feet from the edge of a little river, and the ground on which it 
stands may be about ten feet higher than the bed of that river. 
In quitting Tilford we came on to the land belonging to 
Waverly Abbey, and then, instead of going on to the town of 
Farnham, veered away to the left towards Wrecklesham, in 
order to cross the Farnham and Alton turnpike-road, and to 
come on by the side of Crondall to Odiham. We went a little 
out of the way to go to a place called the Bourn, which lies in 
the heath at about a mile from Farnham. It is a winding 
narrow valley, down which, during the wet season of the year, 
there runs a stream beginning at the Holt Forest, and emptying 
itself into the Wey just below Moor-Park, which was the seat 
of Sir William Temple when Swift was residing with him. We 
went to this bourn in order that I might show my son the spot 
where I received the rudiments of my education. There is a 
little hop-garden in which I used to work when from eight to 
ten years old; from which I have scores of times run to follow 
the hounds, leaving the hoe to do the best it could to destroy 

Kensington to Uphusband 101 

the weeds; but the most interesting thing was a sand-hill, 
which goes from a part of the heath down to the rivulet. As a 
due mixture of pleasure with toil, I, with two brothers, used 
occasionally to desport ourselves, as the lawyers call it, at this 
sand-hill. Our diversion was this: we used to go to the top 
of the hill, which was steeper than the roof of a house; one used 
to draw his arms out of the sleeves of his smock-frock, and 
lay himself down with his arms by his sides; and then the 
others, one at head and the other at feet, sent him rolling 
down the hill like a barrel or a log of wood. By the time he 
got to the bottom, his hair, eyes, ears, nose, and mouth were 
all full of this loose sand; then the others took their turn, and 
at every roll there was a monstrous spell of laughter. I had 
often told my sons of this while they were very little, and I 
now took one of them to see the spot. But that was not all. 
This was the spot where I was receiving my education ; and this 
was the sort of education; and I am perfectly satisfied that if 
I had not received such an education, or something very much 
like it; that, if I had been brought up a milksop, with a nursery- 
maid everlastingly at my heels, I should have been at this day 
as great a fool, as inefficient a mortal, as any of those frivolous 
idiots that are turned out from Winchester and Westminster 
School, or from any of those dens of dunces called colleges and 
universities. It is impossible to say how much I owe to that 
sand-hill; and I went to return it my thanks for the ability 
which it probably gave me to be one of the greatest terrors, to 
one of the greatest and most powerful bodies of knaves and fools 
that ever were permitted to afflict this or any other country. 

From the Bourn we proceeded on to Wrecklesham, at the 
end of which we crossed what is called the river Wey. Here 
we found a parcel of labourers at parish-work. Amongst them 
was an old playmate of mine. The account they gave of their 
situation was very dismal. The harvest was over early. The 
hop-picking is now over; and now they are employed by the 
parish ; that is to say, not absolutely digging holes one day and 
filling them up the next; but at the expense of half-ruined 
farmers and tradesmen and landlords, to break stones into very 
small pieces to make nice smooth roads lest the jolting, in going 
along them, should create bile in the stomach of the over- 
fed tax-eaters. I call upon mankind to witness this scene; 
and to say, whether ever the like of this was heard of before. 
It is a state of things, where all is out of order; where self- 
preservation, that great law of nature, seems to be set at 

102 Rural Rides 

defiance; for here are farmers unable to pay men for working for 
them, and yet compelled to pay them for working in doing that 
which is really of no use to any human being. There lie the 
hop-poles unstripped. You see a hundred things in the neigh- 
bouring fields that want doing. The fences are not nearly what 
they ought to be. The very meadows, to our right and our left 
in crossing this little valley, would occupy these men advan- 
tageously until the setting in of the frost; and here are they, 
not, as I said before, actually digging holes one day and filling 
them up the next; but, to all intents and purposes, as uselessly 
employed. Is this Mr. Canning's " Sun of Prosperity ? ' : Is 
this the way to increase or preserve a nation's wealth ? Is this 
a sign of wise legislation and. of good government? Does this 
thing " work well," Mr. Canning? Does it prove that we want 
no change? True, you were born under a kingly government; 
and so was I as well as you; but I was not born under 
Six- Acts ; nor was I born under a state of things like this. I 
was not born under it, and I do not wish to live under it; and, 
with God's help, I will change it if I can. 

We left these poor fellows, after having given them, not 
' religious tracts," which would, if they could, make the labourer 
content with half starvation, but something to get them some 
bread and cheese and beer, being firmly convinced that it is 
the body that wants filling and not the mind. However, in 
speaking of their low wages, I told them that the farmers and 
hop-planters were as much objects of compassion as themselves, 
which they acknowledged. 

We immediately, after this, crossed the road, and went on 
towards Crondall upon a soil that soon became stiff loam and 
flint at top with a bed of chalk beneath. We did not go to 
Crondall; but kept along over Slade Heath, and through a very 
pretty place called Well. We arrived at Odiham about half 
after eleven, at the end of a beautiful ride of about seventeen 
miles, in a very fine and pleasant day. 


Saturday, 28th September. 

Just after day-light we started for this place. By the turn- 
pike we could have come through Basingstoke by turning off 
to the right, or through Alton and Alresford by turning off 
to the left. Being naturally disposed towards a middle course, 
we chose to wind down through Upton-Gray, Preston-Candover, 
Chilton-Candover, Brown-Candover, then down to Ovington, 

Kensington to Uphusband 103 

and into Winchester bv the north entrance. From Wrecklesham 


to Winchester we have come over roads and lanes of flint and 
chalk. The weather being dry again, the ground under you, 
as solid as iron, makes a great rattling with the horses' feet. 
The country where the soil is stiff loam upon chalk, is never 
bad for corn. Not rich, but never poor. There is at no time 
anything deserving to be called dirt in the roads. The buildings 
last a long time, from the absence of fogs and also the absence 
of humidity in the ground. The absence of dirt makes the 
people habitually cleanly; and all along through this country 
the people appear in general to be very neat. It is a country 
for sheep, which are always sound and good upon this iron soil. 
The trees grow well, where there are trees. The woods and 
coppices are not numerous; but they are good, particularly 
the ash, which always grows well upon the chalk. The oaks, 
though they do not grow in the spiral form, as upon the clays, 
are by no means stunted; and some of them very fine trees; 
I take it, that they require a much greater number of years to 
bring them to perfection than in the Wealds. The wood, 
perhaps, may be harder; but I have heard that the oak, which 
grows upon these hard bottoms, is very frequently what the 
carpenters call shaky. The underwoods here consist, almost 
entirely, of hazel, which is very fine, and much tougher and 
more durable than that which grows on soils with a moist 
bottom. This hazel is a thing of great utility here. It furnishes 
rods wherewith to make fences; but its principal use is to make 
wattles for the folding of sheep in the fields. These things are 
made much more neatly here than in the south of Hampshire 
and in Sussex, or in any other part that I have seen. Chalk is 
the favourite soil of the yew-tree ; and at Preston-Candover 
there is an avenue of yew-trees, probably a mile long, each tree 
containing, as nearly as I can guess, from twelve to twenty feet 
of timber, which, as the reader knows, implies a tree of consider- 
able size. They have probably been a century or two in grow- 
ing; but, in any way that timber can be used, the timber of the 
yew will last, perhaps, ten times as long as the timber of any 
other tree that we grow in England. 

Quitting the Candovers, we came along between the two 
estates of the two Barings. Sir Thomas, who has supplanted 
the Duke of Bedford, was to our right, while Alexander, who 
has supplanted Lord Northington, was on our left. The latter 
has enclosed, as a sort of outwork to his park, a pretty little 
down called Northington Down, in which he has planted, here 

104 Rural Rides 

and there, a clump of trees. But Mr. Baring, not reflecting 
that woods are not like funds, to be made at a heat, has planted 
his trees too large ; so that they are covered with moss, are dying 
at the top, and are literally growing downward instead of up- 
ward. In short, this enclosure and plantation have totally 
destroyed the beauty of this part of the estate. The down, 
which was before very beautiful, and formed a sort of glacis up 
to the park pales, is now a marred, ragged, ugly-looking thing. 
The dying trees, which have been planted long enough for you 
not to perceive that they have been planted, excite the idea 
of sterility in the soil. They do injustice to it; for, as a down, 
it was excellent. Everything that has been done here is to the 
injury of the estate, and discovers a most shocking want of 
taste in the projector. Sir Thomas's plantations, or, rather 
those of his father, have been managed more judiciously. 

I do not like to be a sort of spy in a man's neighbourhood; 
but I will tell Sir Thomas Baring what I have heard; and if he 
be a man of sense I shall have his thanks, rather than his re- 
proaches, for so doing. I may have been misinformed; but 
this is what I have heard, that he and also Lady Baring are 
very charitable; that they are very kind and compassionate 
to their poor neighbours; but that they tack a sort of condition 
to this charity; that they insist upon the objects of it adopting 
their notions with regard to religion; or, at least, that where 
the people are not what they deem pious, they are not objects 
of their benevolence. I do not say that they are not perfectly 
sincere themselves, and that their wishes are not the best that 
can possibly be; but of this I am very certain, that, by pursuing 
this principle of action, where they make one good man or 
woman, they will make one hundred hypocrites. It is not little 
books that can make a people good ; that can make them moral ; 
that can restrain them from committing crimes. I believe that 
books of any sort, never yet had that tendency. Sir Thomas 
does, I dare say, think me a very wicked man, since I aim at the 
destruction of the funding system, and what he would call a 
robbery of what he calls the public creditor; and yet, God help 
me, I have read books enough, and amongst the rest, a great 
part of the religious tracts. Amongst the labouring people, 
the first thing you have to look after is, common honesty, speaking 
the truth, and refraining from thieving; and to secure these, the 
labourer must have his belly-full and be free from fear ; and this 
belly-full must come to him from out of his wages, and not 
from benevolence of any description. Such being my opinion, I 

Kensington to Uphusband 105 

think Sir Thomas Baring would do better, that he would dis- 
cover more real benevolence, by using the influence which he 
must naturally have in his neighbourhood, to prevent a diminu- 
tion in the wages of labour. 

Sunday morning, 29 Sept. 

Yesterday was market-day here. Everything cheap and falling 
instead of rising. If it were over-production last year that 
produced the distress, when are our miseries to have an end ! They 
will end when these men cease to have sway, and not before. 

I had not been in Winchester long before I heard something 
very interesting about the manifesto concerning the poor, which 
was lately issued here, and upon which I remarked in my last 
Register but one, in my letter to Sir Thomas Baring. Pro- 
ceeding upon the true military principle, I looked out for free 
quarter, which the reader will naturally think difficult for me 
to find in a town containing a cathedral. Having done this, 
I went to the Swan Inn to dine with the farmers. This is the 
manner that I like best of doing the thing. Six-Acts do not, 
to be sure, prevent us from dining together. They do not 
authorise justices of the peace to kill us, because we meet to 
dine without their permission. But I do not like dinner- 
meetings on my account. I like much better to go and fall in 
with the lads of the land, or with anybody else, at their own 
places of resort; and I am going to place myself down at Up- 
husband, in excellent free-quarter, in the midst of all the great 
fairs of the west, in order, before the winter campaign begins, 
that I may see as many farmers as possible, and that they may 
hear my opinions, and I theirs. I shall be at Weyhill Fair on 
the loth of October, and, perhaps, on some of the succeeding 
days ; and, on one or more of those days, I intend to dine at the 
White Hart, at Andover. What other fairs or places I shall go 
to I shall notify hereafter. And this I think the frankest and 
fairest way. I wish to see many people, and to talk to them: 
and there are a great many people who wish to see and to talk 
to me. W T hat better reason can be given for a man's going 
about the country and dining at fairs and markets? 

At the dinner at Winchester we had a good number of opulent 
yeomen, and many gentlemen joined us after the dinner. The 
state of the country was well talked over; and, during the 
session (much more sensible than some other sessions that I have 
had to remark on), I made the following 

io6 Rural Rides 


GENTLEMEN, Though many here are, I am sure, glad to see 
me, I am not vain enough to suppose that anything other than 
that of wishing to hear my opinions on the prospects before us 
can have induced many to choose to be here to dine with me 
to-day. I shall, before I sit down, propose to you a toast, which 
you will drink, or not, as you choose; but, I shall state one 
particular wish in that shape, that it may be the more distinctly 
understood, and the better remembered. 

The wish to which I allude relates to the tithes. Under that 
word I mean to speak of all that mass of wealth which is vulgarly 
called church property ; but which is, in fact, public property, 
and may, of course, be disposed of as the Parliament shall please. 
There appears at this moment an uncommon degree of anxiety 
on the part of the parsons to see the farmers enabled to pay 
rents. The business of the parsons being only with tithes, one 
naturally, at first sight, wonders why they should care so much 
about rents. The fact is this; they see clearly enough, that the 
landlords will never long go without rents, and suffer them to 
enjoy the tithes. They see, too, that there must be a struggle 
between the land and the funds : they see that there is such 
a struggle. They see, that it is the taxes that are taking away 
the rent of the landlord and the capital of the farmer. Yet 
the parsons are afraid to see the taxes reduced. Why? Be- 
cause, if the taxes be reduced in any great degree (and nothing 
short of a great degree will give relief), they see that the interest 
of the debt cannot be paid; and they know well, that the 
interest of the debt can never be reduced, until their tithes 
have been reduced. Thus, then, they find themselves in a great 
difficulty. They wish the taxes to be kept up and rents to be 
paid too. Both cannot be, unless some means or other be found 
out of putting into, or keeping in, the farmer's pocket, money 
that is not now there. 

The scheme that appears to have been fallen upon for this 
purpose is the strangest in the world, and it must, if attempted 
to be put into execution, produce something little short of open 
and general commotion; namely, that of reducing the wages 
of labour to a mark so low as to make the labourer a walking 
skeleton. Before I proceed further, it is right that I communi- 
cate to you an explanation, which, not an hour ago, I received 
from Mr. Poulter, relative to the manifesto lately issued in this 

Kensington to Uphusband 107 

town by a bench of magistrates of which that gentleman 
was chairman. I have not the honour to be personally ac- 
quainted with Mr. Poulter, but certainly, if I had misunderstood 
the manifesto, it was right that I should be, if possible, made 
to understand it. Mr. Poulter, in company with another gentle- 
man, came to me in this inn, and said, that the bench did not 
mean that their resolutions should have the effect of lowering 
the wages ; and that the sums, stated in the paper, were sums 
to be given in the way of relief. We had not the paper before 
us, and, as the paper contained a good deal about relief, I, in 
recollection, confounded the two, and said, that I had under- 
stood the paper agreeably to the explanation. But, upon 
looking at the paper again, I see that, as to the words, there 
was a clear recommendation to make the wages what is there 
stated. However, seeing that the chairman himself disavows 
this, we must conclude that the bench put forth words not 
expressing their meaning. To this I must add, as connected 
with the manifesto, that it is stated in that document, that such 
and such justices were present, and a large and respectable 
number of yeomen who had been invited to attend. Now, 
gentlemen, I was, I must confess, struck with this addition 
to the bench. These gentlemen have not been accustomed to 
treat farmers with so much attention. It seemed odd that 
they should want a set of farmers to be present, to give a sort 
of sanction to their acts. Since my arrival in Winchester, I 
have found, however, that having them present was not all; 
for that the names of some of these yeomen were actually 
inserted in the manuscript of the manifesto, and that those 
names were expunged at the request of the parties named. This 
is a very singular proceeding, then, altogether. It presents to 
us a strong picture of the diffidence, or modesty (call it which 
you please) of the justices; and it shows us, that the yeomen 
present did not like to have their names standing as giving 
sanction to the resolutions contained in the manifesto. Indeed, 
they knew well, that those resolutions never could be acted 
upon. They knew that they could not live in safety even in 
the same village with labourers, paid at the rate of 3, 4, and 
5 shillings a week. 

To return, now, gentlemen, to the scheme for squeezing rents 
out of the bones of the labourer, is it not, upon the face of it, 
most monstrously absurd, that this scheme should be resorted 
to, when the plain and easy and just way of insuring rents must 
present itself to every eye, and can be pursued by the Parliament 

io8 Rural Rides 

whenever it choose? We hear loud outcries against the poor- 
rates; the enormous poor-rates; the all-devouring poor-rates; 
but what are the facts? Why, that, in Great Britain, six 
millions are paid in poor-rates; seven millions (or thereabouts) 
in tithes, and sixty millions to the fund-people, the army, place- 
men, and the rest. And yet, nothing of all this seems to be 
thought of but the six millions. Surely the other and so much 
larger sums ought to be thought of. Even the six millions are, 
for the far greater part, wages and not poor-rates. And yet all 
this outcry is made about these six millions, while not a word 
is said about the other sixty-seven millions. 

Gentlemen, to enumerate all the ways in which the public 
money is spent would take me a week. I will mention two 
classes of persons who are receivers of taxes; and you will then 
see with what reason it is that this outcry is set up against the 
poor-rates and against the amount of wages. There is a thing 
called the Dead Weight. Incredible as it may seem that such 
a vulgar appellation should be used in such a way and by such 
persons, it is a fact that the ministers have laid before the 
Parliament an account, called the account of the Dead Weight. 
This account tells how five millions three hundred thousand 
pounds are distributed annually amongst half-pay officers, 
pensioners, retired commissaries, clerks, and so forth, employed 
during the last war. If there were nothing more entailed upon 
us by that war, this is pretty smart-money. Now unjust, 
unnecessary as that war was, detestable as it was in all its 
principles and objects, still, to every man, who really did fight, 
or who performed a soldier's duty abroad, I would give some- 
thing : he should not be left destitute. But, gentlemen, is it 
right for the nation to keep on paying for life crowds of young 
fellows such as make up the greater part of this dead weight ? 
This is not all, however, for, there are the widows and the 
children who have, and are to have, pensions too. You seem 
surprised, and well you may; but this is the fact. A young 
fellow who has a pension for life, aye, or an old fellow either, 
will easily get a wife to enjoy it with him, and he will, I'll warrant 
him, take care that she shall not be old. So that here is abso- 
lutely a premium for entering into the holy state of matrimony. 
The husband, you will perceive, cannot prevent the wife from 
having the pension after his death. She is our widow, in this 
respect, not his. She marries, in fact, with a jointure settled 
on her. The more children the husband leaves the better for 
the widow; for each child has a pension for a certain number 

Kensington to Uphusband 109 

of years. The man who, under such circumstances, does not 
marry, must be a woman-hater. An old man actually going 
into the grave may, by the mere ceremony of marriage, give any 
woman a pension for life. Even the widows and children of 
insane officers are not excluded. If an officer, now insane, but 
at large, were to marry, there is nothing as the thing now stands 
to prevent his widow and children from having pensions. Were 
such things as these ever before heard of in the world? Were 
such premiums ever before given for breeding gentlemen and 
ladies, and that, too, while all sorts of projects are on foot to 
check the breeding of the labouring classes? Can such a thing 
go on ? I say it cannot; and, if it could, it must inevitably 
render this country the most contemptible upon the face of the 
earth. And yet, not a word of complaint is heard about these 
five millions and a quarter, expended in this way, while the 
country rings, fairly resounds, with the outcry about the six 
millions that are given to the labourers in the shape of poor- 
rates, but which, in fact, go, for the greater part, to pay what 
ought to be called wages. Unless, then, we speak out here; 
unless we call for redress here; unless we here seek relief, we 
shall not only be totally ruined, but we shall deserve it. 

The other class of persons, to whom I have alluded, as having 
taxes bestowed on them, are the poor clergy. Not of the church 
as by law established, to be sure, you will say ! Yes, gentlemen, 
even to the poor clergy of the Established Church. We know 
well how rich that church is; we know well how many millions 
it annually receives; we know how opulent are the bishops, how 
rich they die; how rich, in short, a body it is. And yet fifteen 
hundred thousand pounds have, within the same number of years, 
been given, out of the taxes, partly raised on the labourers, for 
the relief of the poor clergy of that Church, while it is notorious 
that the livings are given in numerous cases by twos and threes 
to the same person, and while a clamour, enough to make the 
sky ring, is made about what is given in the shape of relief to the 
labouring classes ! Why, gentlemen, what do we want more 
than this one fact? Does not this one fact sufficiently charac- 
terise the system under which we live? Does not this prove 
that a change, a great change, is wanted? Would it not be 
more natural to propose to get this money back from the Church, 
than to squeeze so much out of the bones of the labourers? 
This the Parliament can do if it pleases; and this it will do, if 
you do your duty. 

Passing over several other topics, let me, gentlemen, now 

1 10 Rural Rides 

come to what, at the present moment, most nearly affects you; 
namely, the prospect as to prices. In the first place, this depends 
upon whether Peel's Bill will be repealed. As this depends a 
good deal upon the ministers, and as I am convinced that they 
know no more what to do in the present emergency than the 
little boys and girls that are running up and down the street 
before this house, it is impossible for me, or for any one, 
to say what will be done in this respect. But, my opinion is 
decided, that the Bill will not be repealed. The ministers see 
that, if they were now to go back to the paper, it would not be 
the paper of 1819; but a paper never to be redeemed by gold; 
that it would be assignats to all intents and purposes. That 
must of necessity cause the complete overthrow of the Govern- 
ment in a very short time. If, therefore, the ministers see the 
thing in this light, it is impossible that they should think of a 
repeal of Peel's Bill. There appeared, last winter, a strong dis- 
position to repeal the Bill; and I verily believe that a repeal 
in effect, though not in name, was actually in contemplation. 
A Bill was brought in which was described beforehand as in- 
tended to prolong the issue of small notes, and also to prolong 
the time for making Bank of England notes a legal tender. 
This would have been a repealing of Peel's Bill in great part. 
The Bill, when brought in, and when passed, as it finally was, 
contained no clause relative to legal tender; and without that 
clause it was perfectly nugatory. Let me explain to you, 
gentlemen, what this Bill really is. In the seventeenth year of 
the late king's reign, an Act was passed for a time limited, to 
prevent the issue of notes payable to bearer on demand, for any 
sums less than five pounds. In the twenty-seventh year of the 
late king's reign, this Act was made perpetual ; and the preamble 
of the Act sets forth, that it is made perpetual, because the 
preventing of small notes being made has been proved to be for the 
good of the nation. Nevertheless, in just ten years afterwards; 
that is to say, in the year one thousand seven hundred and 
ninety-seven, when the bank stopped payment, this salutary 
Act was suspended ; indeed, it was absolutely necessary, for 
there was no gold to pay with. It continued suspended, until 
1819, when Mr. Peel's Bill was passed, when a Bill was passed 
to suspend it still further, until the year 1825. You will ob- 
serve, then, that last winter there were yet three years to come, 
during which the banks might make small notes if they would. 
Yet this new Bill was passed last winter to authorise them to 
make small notes until the year 1833. The measure was wholly 

Kensington to Uphusband 1 1 i 

uncalled for. It appeared to be altogether unnecessary; but, 
as I have just said, the intention was to introduce into this Bill 
a clause to continue the legal tender until 1833; an d that would, 
indeed, have made a great alteration in the state of things; and, 
if extended to the Bank of England, would have been, in effect, 
a complete repeal of Peel's Bill. 

It was fully expected by the country bankers, that the legal 
tender clause would have been inserted; but, before it came to 
the trial, the ministers gave way, and the clause was not inserted. 
The reason for their giving way, I do verily believe, had its 
principal foundation in their perceiving, that the public would 
clearly see that such a measure would make the paper-money 
merely assignats. The legal tender not having been enacted, 
the Small-note Bill can do nothing towards augmenting the 
quantity of circulating medium. As the law now stands, Bank 
of England notes are, in effect, a legal tender. If I owe a debt of 
twenty pounds, and tender Bank of England notes in payment, 
the law says that you shall not arrest me; that you may bring 
your action, if you like; that I may pay the notes into court; 
that you may go on with your action; that you shall pay all 
the costs, and I none. At last you gain your action; you 
obtain judgment and execution, or whatever else the everlasting 
law allows of. And what have you got then ? Why the notes ; 
the same identical notes the sheriff will bring you. You will 
not take them. Go to law with the sheriff then. He pays the 
notes into court. More costs for you to pay. And thus you go 
on ; but without ever touching or seeing gold ! 

Now, gentlemen, Peel's Bill puts an end to all this pretty 
work on the first day of next May. If you have a handful of 
a country banker's rags now, and go to him for payment, he 
will tender you Bank of England notes; and if you like the 
paying of costs you may go to law for gold. But when the first 
of next May comes, he must put gold into your hands in exchange 
for your notes, if you choose it; or you may clap a bailiff's hand 
upon his shoulder; and if he choose to pay into court, he must 
pay in gold, and pay your costs also as far as you have gone. 

This makes a strange alteration in the thing! And every- 
body must see that the Bank of England and the country 
bankers that all, in short, are preparing for the first of May. 
It is clear that there must be a farther diminution of the paper- 
money. It is hard to say the precise degree of effect that this 
will have upon prices; but that it must bring them down is 
clear; and, for my own part, I am fully persuaded, that they 

i i 2 Rural Rides 

will come down to the standard of prices in France, be those 
prices what they may. This, indeed, was acknowledged by 
Mr. Huskisson in the Agricultural Report of 1821. That two 
countries so near together, both having gold as a currency or 
standard, should differ very widely from each other, in the 
prices of farm-produce, is next to impossible; and therefore, 
when our legal tender shall be completely done away, to the 
prices of France you must come; and those prices cannot, I 
think, in the present state of Europe, much exceed three or 
four shillings a bushel for good wheat. 

You know, as well as I do, that it is impossible, with the 
present taxes and rates and tithes, to pay any rent at all with 
prices upon that scale. Let loan-jobbers, stock-jobbers, Jews, 
and the whole tribe of tax-eaters say what they will, you know 
that it is impossible, as you also know it would be cruelly unjust 
to wring from the labourer the means of paying rent, while 
those taxes and tithes remain. Something must be taken off. 
The labourers wages have already been reduced as low as 
possible. All public pay and salaries ought to be reduced; 
and the tithes also ought to be reduced, as they might be to a 
greal amount without any injury to religion. The interest of 
the debt ought to be largely reduced; but, as none of the 
others can, with any show of justice, take place, without a 
reduction of the tithes, and as I am for confining myself to one 
object at present, I will give you as a toast, leaving you to 
drink it or not as you please, A large Reduction of Tithes. 

Somebody proposed to drink this toast with three times three, 
which was accordingly done, and the sound might have been 
heard down to the close. Upon some gentleman giving my 
health, I took occasion to remind the company, that, the last 
time I was at Winchester we had the memorable fight with 
Lockhart " the Brave ' and his sable friends. I reminded 
them that it was in that same room that I told them, that it 
would not be long before Mr. Lockhart and those sable gentle- 
men would become enlightened; and I observed that, if we 
were to judge from a man's language, there was not a land- 
owner in England that more keenly felt than Mr. Lockhart the 
truth of those predictions which I had put forth at the castle 
on the day alluded to. I reminded the company that I sailed 
for America in a few days after that meeting; that they must 
be well aware that, on the day of the meeting, I knew that I 
was taking leave of the country, but, I observed, that I had not 

Kensington to Uphusband 113 

been in the least depressed by that circumstance; because I 
relied, with perfect confidence, on being in this same place again 
to enjoy, as I now did, a triumph over my adversaries. 

After this, Mr. Hector gave a Constitutional Reform in the 
Commons' House of Parliament, which was drunk with great 
enthusiasm; and Mr. Hector's health having been given, he, 
in returning thanks, urged his brother yeomen and freeholders 
to do their duty by coming forward in county meeting and 
giving their support to those noblemen and gentlemen that were 
willing to stand forward for a reform and for a reduction of 
taxation. I held forth to them the example of the county of 
Kent, which had done itself so much honour by its conduct last 
spring. What these gentlemen in Hampshire will do, it is not 
for me to say. If nothing be done by them, they will certainly 
be ruined, and that ruin they will certainly deserve. It was to 
the farmers that the Government owed its strength to carry on 
the war. Having them with it, in consequence of a false and 
bloated prosperity, it cared not a straw for anybody else. If 
they, therefore, now do their duty; if they all, like the yeomen 
and farmers of Kent, come boldly forward, everything will be 
done necessary to preserve themselves and their country; and 
if they do not come forward, they will, as men of property, be 
swept from the face of the earth. The noblemen and gentlemen 
who are in Parliament, and who are disposed to adopt measures 
of effectual relief, cannot move with any hope of success unless 
backed by the yeomen and farmers, and the middling classes 
throughout the country generally. I do not mean to confine 
myself to yeomen and farmers, but to take in all tradesmen 
and men of property. With these at their back, or rather, at 
the back of these, there are men enough in both Houses of 
Parliament to propose and to urge measures suitable to the 
exigency of the case. But without the middling classes to take 
the lead, those noblemen and gentlemen can do nothing. Even 
the ministers themselves, if they were so disposed (and they 
must be so disposed at last) could make none of the reforms 
that are necessary, without being actually urged on by the middle 
classes of the community. This is a very important considera- 
tion. A new man, as minister, might indeed propose the reforms 
himself; but these men, opposition as well as ministry, are so 
pledged to the things that have brought all this ruin upon the 
country, that they absolutely stand in need of an overpowering 
call from the people to justify them in doing that which they 
themselves may think just, and which they may know to be 

1 14 Rural Rides 

necessary for the salvation of the country. They dare not 
take the lead in the necessary reforms. It is too much to be 
expected of any men upon the face of the earth, pledged and 
situated as these ministers are; and therefore, unless the people 
will do their duty, they will have themselves, and only them- 
selves, to thank for their ruin, and for that load of disgrace, and 
for that insignificance worse than disgrace which seems, after 
so many years of renown, to be attaching themselves to the 
name of England, 

Sunday Evening, 29 Sept. 1822. 

We came along the turnpike-road, through Wherwell and 
Andover, and got to this place about 2 o'clock. This country, 
except at the village and town just mentioned, is very open, 
a thinnish soil upon a bed of chalk. Between Winchester and 
Wherwell we came by some hundreds of acres of ground that 
was formerly most beautiful down, which was broken up in 
dear-corn times, and which is now a district of thistles and other 
weeds. If I had such land as this I would soon make it down 
again. I would for once (that is to say if I had the money) get 
it quite clean, prepare it as for sowing turnips, get the turnips 
if possible, feed them off early, or plough the ground if I got 
no turnips; sow thick with saintfoin and meadow-grass seeds 
of all sorts, early in September; let the crop stand till the next 
July; feed it then slenderly with sheep, and dig up all thistles 
and rank weeds that might appear; keep feeding it, but not too 
close, during the summer and the fall; and ke p on feeding it 
for ever after as a down. The saintfoin itself would last for 
many years; and as it disappeared, its place would be supplied 
by the grass; that sort which was most congenial to the soil, 
would at last stifle all other sorts, and the land would become 
a valuable down as formerly. 

I see that some plantations of ash and of hazel have been 
made along here; but, with great submission to the planters, 
I think they have gone the wrong way to work, as to the mode 
of preparing the ground. They have planted small trees, and 
that is right; they have trenched the ground, and that is also 
right; but they have brought the bottom soil to the top; and 
that is wrong, always; and especially where the bottom soil is 
gravel or chalk, or clay. I know that some people will say that 
this is a puff ; and let it pass tor that; but if any gentleman 
that is going to plant trees, will look into my Book on Gardening, 

Kensington to Uphusband 115 

and into the chapter on Preparing the Soil, he will, I think, see 
how conveniently ground may be trenched without bringing to 
the top that soil in which the young trees stand so long without 
making shoots. 

This country, though so open, has its beauties. The home- 
steads in the sheltered bottoms with fine lofty trees about the 
houses and yards, form a beautiful contrast with the large open 
fields. The little villages, running straggling along the dells 
(always with lofty trees and rookeries) are very interesting 
objects, even in the winter. You feel a sort of satisfaction, 
when you are out upon the bleak hills yourself, at the thought 
of the shelter, which is experienced in the dwellings in the 

Andover is a neat and solid market-town. It is supported 
entirely by the agriculture around it; and how the makers of 
population returns ever came to think of classing the inhabitants 
of such a town as this under any other head than that of " persons 
employed in agriculture" would appear astonishing to any man 
who did not know those population return makers as well as 
I do. 

The village of Uphusband, the legal name of which is Hurst- 
bourn Tarrant, is, as the reader will recollect, a great favourite 
with me, not the less so certainly on account of the excellent 
free-quarter that it affords. 


7 to 10 October, 1822. 

AT Uphusband, a little village in a deep dale, about five 
miles to the north of Andover, and about three miles to the 
south of the hills at Highdere. The wheat is sown here, and up, 
and, as usual, at this time of the year, looks very beautiful. 
The wages of the labourers brought down to six shillings a week I 
a horrible thing to think of; but, I hear, it is still worse in Wilt- 

1 1 October. 

Went to Weyhill-fair, at which I was about 46 years ago, 
when I rode a little pony, and remember how proud I was on 
the occasion; but, I also remember, that my brothers, two out 
of three of whom were older than I, thought it unfair that my 
father selected me; and my own reflections upon the occasion 
have never been forgotten by me. The nth of October is the 
Sheep-fair. About 300,000 used, some few years ago, to be 
carried home by the sheep-sellers. To-day, less, perhaps, than 
70,000, and yet the rents of these sheep-sellers are, perhaps, as 
high, on an average, as they were then. The countenances of 
the farmers were descriptive of their ruinous state. I never, 
in all my life, beheld a more mournful scene. There is a horse- 
fair upon another part of the down; and there I saw horses 
keeping pace in depression with the sheep. A pretty numerous 
group of the tax-eaters, from Andover and the neighbourhood, 
were the only persons that had smiles on their faces. I was 
struck with a young farmer trotting a horse backward and 
forward to show him off to a couple of gentlemen, who were 
bargaining for the horse, and one of whom finally purchased him. 
These gentlemen were two of our " dead-weight" and the horse 
was that on which the farmer had pranced in the Yeomanry 
Troop I Here is a turn of things! Distress; pressing distress; 
dread of the bailiffs alone could have made the farmer sell his 
horse. If he had the firmness to keep the tears out of his eyes, 
his heart must have paid the penalty. What, then, must have 


Hampshire, Surrey, and Sussex 1 17 

been his feelings, if he reflected, as I did, that the purchase- 
money for the horse had first gone from his pocket into that 
of the dead-weight I And, further, that the horse had pranced 
about for years for the purpose of subduing all opposition to 
those very measures, which had finally dismounted the owner! 

From this dismal scene, a scene formerly so joyous, we set off 
back to Uphusband pretty early, were overtaken by the rain, 
and got a pretty good soaking. The land along here is very 
good. This whole country has a chalk bottom; but, in the 
valley on the right of the hill over which you go from Andover 
to Weyhill, the chalk lies far from the top, and the soil has few 
flints in it. It is very much like the land about Maiden and 
Maidstone. Met with a farmer who said he must be ruined, 
unless another " good war ' should come ! This is no un- 
common notion. They saw high prices with war, and they 
thought that the war was the cause. 

12 to 1 6 October. 

The fair was too dismal for me to go to it again. My sons 
went two of the days, and their account of the hop-fair was 
enough to make one gloomy for a month, particularly as my 
townsmen of Farnham were, in this case, amongst the sufferers. 
On the i2th I went to dine with and to harangue the farmers 
at Andover. Great attention was paid to what I had to say. 
The crowding to get into the room was a proof of nothing, 
perhaps, but curiosity ; but, there must have been a cause for 
the curiosity, and that cause would, under the present circum- 
stances, be matter for reflection with a wise government. 

17 October. 

Went to Newbury to dine with and to harangue the farmers. 
It was a fair-day. It rained so hard that I had to stop at 
Burghclere to dry my clothes, and to borrow a greatcoat to 
keep me dry for the rest of the way; so as not to have to sit in 
wet clothes. At Newbury the company was not less attentive 
or less numerous than at Andover. Some one of the tax-eating 
crew had, I understand, called me an " incendiary." The day 
is passed for those tricks. They deceive no longer. Here, at 
Newbury, I took occasion to notice the base accusation of 
Dundas, the member for the county. I stated it as something 
that I had heard of, and 1 was proceeding to charge him 
conditionally, when Mr. Tubb of Shillingford rose from his seat, 
and said, " I myself, sir, heard him say the words." I had 

i 1 8 Rural Rides 

heard of his vile conduct long before; but, I abstained from 
charging him with it, till an opportunity should offer for doing 
it in his own country. After the dinner was over I went back 
to Burghclere. 

1 8 to 20 October. 

At Burghclere, one half the time writing, and the other half 

21 October. 
Went back to Uphusband. 

22 October. 

Went to dine with the farmers at Salisbury, and got back to 
Uphusband by ten o'clock at night, two hours later than I have 
been out of bed for a great many months. 

In quitting Andover to go to Salisbury (17 miles from each 
other) you cross the beautiful valley that goes winding down 
amongst the hills to Stockbridge. You then rise into the open 
country that very soon becomes a part of that large tract of 
downs called Salisbury Plain. You are not in Wiltshire, how- 
ever, till you are about half the way to Salisbury. You leave 
Tid worth away to your right. This is the seat of Asheton Smith ; 
and the fine coursing that I once saw there I should have called 
to recollection with pleasure, if I could have forgotten the 
hanging of the men at Winchester last spring for resisting one 
of this Smith's gamekeepers ! This Smith's son and a Sir John 
Pollen are the members for Andover. They are chosen by 
the corporation. One of the corporation, an attorney named 
Etwall, is a commissioner of the lottery, or something in that 
way. It would be a curious thing to ascertain how large a 
portion of the " public services " is performed by the voters in 
boroughs and their relations. These persons are singularly 
kind to the nation. They not only choose a large part of the 
" representatives of the people; " but they come in person, or by 
deputy, and perform a very considerable part of the " public 
services." I should like to know how many of them are em- 
ployed about the Salt-Tax, for instance. A list of these public- 
spirited persons might be produced to show the benefit of the 

Before you get to Salisbury, you cross the valley that brings 
down a little river from Amesbury. It is a very beautiful 
valley. There is a chain of farm-houses and little churches all 
the way up it. The farms consist of the land on the flats on 
each side of the river, running out to a greater or less extent, at 

Hampshire, Surrey, and Sussex 119 

different places, towards the hills and downs. Not far above 
Amesbury is a little village called Netherhaven, where I once 
saw an acre of hares. We were coursing at Everly, a few miles 
off; and one of the party happening to say that he had seen 
;< an acre of hares " at Mr. Hicks Beech's at Netherhaven, we, 
who wanted to see the same, or to detect our informant, sent 
a messenger to beg a day's coursing, which being granted, we 
went over the next day. Mr. Beech received us very politely. 
He took us into a wheat stubble close by his paddock; his son 
took a gallop round, cracking his whip at the same time; the 
hares (which were very thickly in sight before) started all ovei 
the field, ran into & flock like sheep; and we all agreed that the 
flock did cover an acre of ground. Mr. Beech had an old grey- 
hound, that I saw lying down in the shrubbery close by the 
house, while several hares were sitting and skipping about, 
with just as much confidence as cats sit by a dog in a kitchen or 
a parlour. Was this instinct in either dog or hares? Then, 
mind, this same greyhound went amongst the rest to course 
with us out upon the distant hills and lands; and then he ran 
as eagerly as the rest, and killed the hares with as little remorse. 
Philosophers will talk a long while before they will make men 
believe that this was instinct alone. I believe that this dog 
had much more reason than half of the Cossacks have; and 
I am sure he had a great deal more than many a negro that I 
have seen. 

In crossing this valley to go to Salisbury, I thought of Mr. 
Beech's hares; but I really have neither thought of nor seen 
any game with pleasure, since the hanging of the two men at 
Winchester. If no other man will petition for the repeal of the 
law under which those poor fellows suffered, I will. But let 
us hope that there will be no need of petitioning. Let us hope 
that it will be repealed without any express application for it. 
It is curious enough that laws of this sort should increase, while 
Sir James Mackintosh is so resolutely bent on " softening the 
criminal code I ' 

The company at Salisbury was very numerous; not less than 
500 farmers were present. They were very attentive to what 
I said, and, which rather surprised me, they received very 
docilely what I said against squeezing the labourers. A fire, 
in a farm-yard, had lately taken place near Salisbary; so that 
the subject was a ticklish one. But it was my very first duty 
to treat of it, and I was resolved, be the consequence what it 
might, not to neglect that duty. 

I2O Rural Rides 

23 to 26 October. 

At Uphusband. At this village, which is a great thoroughfare 
for sheep and pigs, from Wiltshire and Dorsetshire to Berkshire, 
Oxfordshire, and away to the north and north-east, we see many 
farmers from different parts of the country; and, if I had had 
any doubts before as to the deplorableness of their state, those 
would now no longer exist. I did indeed, years ago, prove that 
if we returned to cash payments without a reduction of the 
debt, and without a rectifying of contracts, the present race of 
farmers must be ruined. But still, when the thing actually 
comes, it astounds one. It is like the death of a friend or 
relation. We talk of its approach without much emotion. We 
foretell the when without much seeming pain. We know it 
must be. But, when it comes, we forget our foretellings, and 
feel the calamity as acutely as if we had never expected it. The 
accounts we hear, daily, and almost hourly, of the families of 
farmers actually coming to the parish-book, are enough to make 
anybody but a boroughmonger feel. That species of monster 
is to be moved by nothing but his own pecuniary sufferings; 
and, thank God, the monster is now about to be reached. I hear, 
from all parts, that the parsons are in great alarm ! Well they 
may, if their hearts be too much set upon the treasures of this 
world; for I can see no possible way of settling this matter 
justly, without resorting to their temporalities. They have 
long enough been calling upon all the industrious classes for 
" sacrifices for the good of the country." The time seems 
to be come for them to do something in this way themselves. 
In a short time there will be, because there can be, no rents. 
And we shall see whether the landlords will then suffer the 
parsons to continue to receive a tenth part of the produce of the 
land ! In many places the farmers have had the sense and the 
spirit to rate the tithes to the poor-rates. This they ought to do 
in all cases, whether the tithes be taken up in kind or not. 
This, however, sweats the fire-shovel hat gentleman. It 
" bothers his wig." He does not know what to think of it. 
He does not know who to blame ; and, where a parson finds 
things not to his mind, the first thing he always does is, to look 
about for somebody to accuse of sedition and blasphemy. 
Lawyers always begin, in such cases, to hunt the books, to see 
if there be no punishment to apply. But, the devil of it is, 
neither of them have now anybody to lay on upon! I always 
told them that there would arise an enemy that would laugh 

Hampshire, Surrey, and Sussex 121 

at all their anathemas, informations, dungeons, halters, and 
bayonets. One positive good has, however, arisen out of the 
present calamities, and that is, the parsons are grown more 
humble than they were. Cheap corn and a good thumping debt 
have greatly conduced to the producing of the Christian virtue 
humility, necessary in us all, but doubly necessary in the priest- 
hood. The parson is now one of the parties who is taking away 
the landlord's estate and the farmer's capital. When the 
farmer's capital is gone, there will be no rents; but, without 
a law upon the subject, the parson will still have his tithe, and 
a tithe upon the taxes too, which the land has to bear! Will 
the landlords stand this? No matter. If there be no reform 
of the Parliament, they must stand it. The two sets may, for 
aught I care, worry each other as long as they please. When 
the present race of farmers are gone (and that will soon be) the 
landlord and the parson may settle the matter between them. 
They will be the only parties interested; and which of them 
shall devour the other appears to be of little consequence to the 
rest of the community. They agreed most cordially in creating 
the debt. They went hand in hand in all the measures against 
the Reformers. They have made, actually made, the very thing 
that now frightens them, which now menaces them with total 
extinction. They cannot think it unjust, if their prayers be now 
treated as the prayers of the Reformers were. 

27 to 29 October. 

At Burghclere. Very nasty weather. On the 28th the fox 
hounds came to throw off at Penwood, in this parish. Having 
heard that Dundas would be out with the hounds, I rode to the 
place of meeting, in order to look him in the face, and to give 
him an opportunity to notice, on his own peculiar dunghill, 
what I had said of him at Newbury. He came. I rode up 
to him and about him; but he said not a word. The com- 
pany entered the wood, and I rode back towards my quarters. 
They found a fox, and quickly lost him. Then they came out 
of the wood and came back along the road, and met me, and 
passed me, they as well as I going at a foot pace. I had plenty 
of time to survey them all well, and to mark their looks. I 
watched Dundas's eyes, but the devil a bit could I get them 
to turn my way. He is paid for the present. We shall see 
whether he will go, or send an ambassador, or neither, when I 
shall be at Reading on the Qth of next month. 

* E 6 3 8 

i 22 Rural Rides 

30 October. 

Set off for London. Went by Alderbridge, Crookham, 
Brimton, Mortimer, Strathfield Say, Heckfield Heath, Eversley, 
Blackwater, and slept at Oakingham. This is, with trifling 
exceptions, a miserably poor country. Burghclere lies along 
at the foot of a part of that chain of hills which, in this part, 
divide Hampshire from Berkshire. The parish just named is, 
indeed, in Hampshire, but it forms merely the foot of the High- 
clere and Kingsclere Hills. These hills, from which you can 
see all across the country, even to the Isle of Wight, are of chalk, 
and with them, towards the north, ends the chalk. The soil 
over which I have come to-day is generally a stony sand upon 
a bed of gravel. With the exception of the land just round 
Crookham and the other villages, nothing can well be poorer or 
more villainously ugly. It is all first cousin to Hounslow Heath, 
of which it is, in fact, a continuation to the westward. There 
is a clay at the bottom of the gravel; so that you have here 
nasty stagnant pools without fertility of soil. The rushes grow 
amongst the gravel; sure sign that there is clay beneath to 
hold the water; for, unless there be water constantly at their 
roots, rushes will not grow. Such land is, however, good for 
oaks wherever there is soil enough on the top of the gravel for the 
oak to get hold, and to send its tap-root down to the clay. The 
oak is the thing to plant here; and, therefore, this whole country 
contains not one single plantation of oaks! That is to say, as 
far as I observed. Plenty of^r-trees and other rubbish have 
been recently planted; but no oaks. 

At Strathfield Say is that everlasting monument of English 
Wisdom Collective, the Heir Loom Estate of the " greatest 
Captain oj the Age! r ' In his peerage it is said that it was 
wholly out of the power of the nation to reward his services fully; 
but that " she did what she could ! ' Well, poor devil ! And 
what could anybody ask for more? It was well, however, 
that she gave what she did while she was drunk; for, if she had 
held her hand till now, I am half disposed to think that her 
gifts would have been very small. I can never forget that we 
have to pay interest on 50,000 of the money merely owing to 
the coxcombery of the late Mr. Whitbread, who actually moved 
that addition to one of the grants proposed by the ministers! 
Now, a great part of the grants is in the way of annuity or 
pension. It is notorious that, when the grants were made, 
the pensions would not purchase more than a third part of as 

Hampshire, Surrey, and Sussex 123 

much wheat as they will now. The grants, therefore, have 
been augmented threefold. What right, then, has any one to 
say that the labourer's wages ought to fall, unless he say that 
these pensions ought to be reduced ! The Hampshire magis- 
trates, when they were putting forth their manifesto about 
the allowances to labourers, should have noticed these pensions 
of the lord-lieutenant of the county. However, real starvation 
cannot be inflicted to any very great extent. The present race 
of farmers must give way, and the attempts to squeeze rents 
out of the wages of labour must cease. And the matter will 
finally rest to be settled by the landlords, parsons, and tax- 
eaters. If the landlords choose to give the greatest captain 
three times as much as was granted to him, why, let him have it. 
According to all account, he is no miser at any rate; and the 
estates that pass through his hands may, perhaps, be full as 
well disposed of as they are at present. Considering the miser- 
able soil I have passed over to-day, I am rather surprised to 
find Oakingham so decent a town. It has a very handsome 
market-place, and is by no means an ugly country-town. 

31 October. 

Set off at daylight and got to Kensington about noon. On 
leaving Oakingham for London, you get upon what is called 
Windsor Forest ; that is to say, upon as bleak, as barren, and 
as villainous a heath as ever man set his eyes on. However, 
here are new enclosures without end. And here are houses too, 
here and there, over the whole of this execrable tract of country. 
" What! " Mr. Canning will say, " will you not allow that the 
owners of these new enclosures and these houses know their own 
interests? And are not these improvements, and are they not 
a proof of an addition to the national capital? ' To the first 
I answer, May be so ; to the two last, No. These new enclosures 
and houses arise out of the beggaring of the parts of the country 
distant from the vortex of the funds. The farm-houses have 
long been growing fewer and fewer; the labourers' houses fewer 
and fewer; and it is manifest to every man who has eyes to see 
with, that the villages are regularly wasting away. This is the 
case all over the parts of the kingdom where the tax-eaters do 
not haunt. In all the really agricultural villages and parts of 
the kingdom, there is a shocking decay ; a great dilapidation and 
constant pulling down or falling down of houses. The farm- 
houses are not so many as they were forty years ago by three- 

124 Rural Rides 

fourths. That is to say, the infernal system of Pitt and his 
followers has annihilated three parts out of four of the farm- 
houses. The labourers' houses disappear also. And all the 
useful people become less numerous. While these spewy sands 
and gravel near London are enclosed and built on, good lands 
in other parts are neglected. These enclosures and buildings 
are a waste ; they are means misapplied ; they are a proof of 
national decline and not of prosperity. To cultivate and 
ornament these villainous spots the produce and the population 
are drawn away from the good lands. There all manner of 
schemes have been resorted to to get rid of the necessity of 
hands; and I am quite convinced that the population, upon 
the whole, has not increased, in England, one single soul 
since I was born; an opinion that I have often expressed, in 
support of which I have as often offered arguments, and 
those arguments have never been answered. As to this rascally 
heath, that which has ornamented it has brought misery on 
millions. The spot is not far distant from the stock-jobbing 
crew. The roads to it are level. They are smooth. The 
wretches can go to it from the 'Change without any danger to 
their worthless necks. And thus it is " vastly improved, ma am!" 
A set of men who can look upon this as " improvement," who 
can regard this as a proof of the " increased capital of the 
country," are pretty fit, it must be allowed, to get the country 
out of its present difficulties! At the end of this blackguard 
heath you come (on the road to Egham) to a little place called 
Sunning Hill, which is on the western side of Windsor Park. 
It is a spot all made into " grounds " and gardens by tax-eaters. 
The inhabitants of it have beggared twenty agricultural villages 
and hamlets. 

From this place you go across a corner of Windsor Park, and 
come out at Virginia \Vater. To Egham is then about two miles. 
A much more ugly country than that between Egham and 
Kensington would with great difficulty be found in England. 
Flat as a pancake, and, until you come to Hammersmith, the 
soil is a nasty stony dirt upon a bed of gravel. Hounslow 
Heath, which is only a little worse than the general run, is a 
sample of all that is bad in soil and villainous in look. Yet this 
is now enclosed, and what they call " cultivated." Here is a 
fresh robbery of villages, hamlets, and farm and labourers' 
buildings and abodes! But here is one of those " vast improve- 
ments, ma am" called Barracks. What an "improvement!' 
What an "addition to the national capital!'' For, mind, 

Hampshire, Surrey, and Sussex 125 

Monsieur de Snip, the Surrey Norman, actually said, that 
the new buildings ought to be reckoned an addition to the 
national capital! What, Snip! Do you pretend that the 
nation is richer, because the means of making this barrack have 
been drawn away from the people in taxes? Mind, Monsieur 
le Normand, the barrack did not drop down from the sky nor 
spring up out of the earth. It was not created by the unhanged 
knaves of paper-money. It came out of the people's labour; 
and when you hear Mr. Ellman tell the committee of 1821, that 
forty-five years ago every man in his parish brewed his own 
beer, and that now not one man in that same parish does it; 
when you hear this, Monsieur de Snip, you might, if you had 
brains in your skull, be able to estimate the effects of what has 
produced the barrack. Yet, barracks there must be, or Gallon 
and Old Sarum must fall; and the fall of these would break 
poor Mr. Canning's heart. 

8 November. 
From London to Egham in the evening. 

9 November. 

Started at day-break in a hazy frost, for Reading. The 
horses' manes and ears covered with the hoar before we got 
across Windsor Park, which appeared to be a blackguard soil, 
pretty much like Hounslow Heath, only not flat. A very large 
part of the park is covered with heath or rushes, sure sign of 
execrable soil. But the roads are such as might have been 
made by Solomon. " A greater than Solomon is here! " some 
one may exclaim. Of that I know nothing. I am but a 
traveller; and the roads in this park are beautiful indeed. My 
servant, whom I brought from amongst the hills and flints of 
Uphusband, must certainly have thought himself in Paradise 
as he was going through the park. If I had told him that the 
buildings and the labourers' clothes and meals, at Uphusband, 
were the worse for those pretty roads with edgings cut to the 
line, he would have wondered at me, I dare say. It would, 
nevertheless, have been perfectly true; and this is feelosofee 
of a much more useful sort than that which is taught by the 
Edinburgh Reviewers. 

When you get through the park you come to Winkfield, and 
then (bound for Reading) you go through Binfield, which is 
ten miles from Egham and as many from Reading. At Binfield 
I stopped to breakfast, at a very nice country inn called the 
Stag and Hounds. Here you go along on the north border of 

126 Rural Rides 

that villainous tract of country that I passed over in going from 
Oakingham to Egham. Much of the land even here is but 
newly enclosed; and it was really not worth a straw before it 
was loaded with the fruit of the labour of the people living in 
the parts of the country distant from the Fund- Wen. What 
injustice! What unnatural changes! Such things cannot be, 
without producing convulsion in the end! A road as smooth 
as a die, a real stock-jobber's road, brought us to Reading by 
eleven o'clock. We dined at one; and very much pleased I 
was with the company. I have seldom seen a number of persons 
assembled together, whose approbation I valued more than that 
of the company of this day. Last year the prime minister said 
that his speech (the grand speech) was rendered necessary by 
the " pains that had been taken, in different parts of the 
country," to persuade the farmers that the distress had arisen 
out of the measures of the government, and not from over- 
production I To be sure I had taken some pains to remove 
that stupid notion about over-production from the minds of 
the farmers; but did the stern-path-man succeed in counter- 
acting the effect of my efforts? Not he, indeed. And, after 
his speech was made, and sent forth cheek by jowl with that 
of the sane Castlereagh, of hole-digging memory, the truths 
inculcated by me were only the more manifest. This has been 
a fine meeting at Reading ! I feel very proud of it. The morn- 
ing was fine for me to ride in, and the rain began as soon as I 
was housed. 

I came on horseback 40 miles, slept on the road, and finished 
my harangue at the end of twenty-two hours from leaving Ken- 
sington; and I cannot help saying that is pretty well for " Old 
Cobbett." I am delighted with the people that I have seen at 
Reading. Their kindness to me is nothing in my estimation 
compared with the sense and spirit which they appear to 
possess. It is curious to observe how things have worked with 
me. That combination, that sort of instinctive union, which 
has existed for so many years, amongst all the parties, to keep 
me down generally, and particularly, as the County-Club called it, 
to keep me out of Parliament " at any rate" this combination 
has led to the present haranguing system, which, in some sort, 
supplies the place of a seat in Parliament. It may be said, 
indeed, that I have not the honour to sit in the same room with 
those great Reformers, Lord John Russell, Sir Massey Lopez, 
and his guest, Sir Francis Burdett; but man's happiness here 
below is never perfect; and there may be, besides, people to 

Hampshire, Surrey, and Sussex 127 

believe that a man ought not to break his heart on account of 
being shut out of such company, especially when he can find 
such company as I have this day found at Reading. 

10 October. 

Went from Reading, through Aldermaston for Burghclere. 
The rain has been very heavy, and the water was a good deal 
out. Here, on my way, I got upon Crookham Common again, 
which is a sort of continuation of the wretched country about 
Oakingham. From Highclere I looked, one day, over the flat 
towards Marlborough; and I there saw some such rascally 
heaths. So that this villainous tract extends from east to 
west, with more or less of exceptions, from Hounslow to Hunger- 
ford. From north to south it extends from Binfield (which 
cannot be far from the borders of Buckinghamshire) to the 
South Downs of Hampshire, and terminates somewhere between 
Liphook and Petersfield, after stretching over Hindhead, which 
is certainly the most villainous spot that God ever made. Our 
ancestors do, indeed, seem to have ascribed its formation to 
another power; for the most celebrated part of it is called 
" the Devil's Punch Bowl." In this tract of country there are 
certainly some very beautiful spots. But these are very few 
in number, except where the chalk-hills run into the tract. 
The neighbourhood of Godalming ought hardly to be considered 
as an exception; for there you are just on the outside of the 
tract, and begin to enter on the Wealds ; that is to say, clayey 
woodlands. All the part of Berkshire of which I have been 
recently passing over, if I except the tract from Reading to 
Crookham, is very bad land and a very ugly country. 

ii November. 

Uphusband once more, and, for the sixth time this year, 
over the North Hampshire Hills, which, notwithstanding their 
everlasting flints, I like very much. As you ride along, even in 
a green lane, the horses' feet make a noise like hammering. It 
seems as if you were riding on a mass of iron. Yet the soil is 
good, and bears some of the best wheat in England. All these 
high and, indeed, all chalky lands, are excellent for sheep. But 
on the top of some of these hills there are as fine meadows as I 
ever saw. Pasture richer, perhaps, than that about Swindon 
in the north of Wiltshire. And the singularity is, that this 
pasture is on the very tops of these lofty hills, from which you 
can see the Isle of Wight. There is a stiff loam, in some places 

128 Rural Rides 

twenty feet deep, on a bottom of chalk. Though the grass 
grows so finely, there is no apparent wetness in the land. The 
wells are more than three hundred feet deep. The main part of 
the water, for all uses, comes from the clouds; and, indeed, 
these are pretty constant companions of these chalk hills, which 
are very often enveloped in clouds and wet, when it is sunshine 
down at Burghclere or Uphusband. They manure the land 
here by digging wells in the fields, and bringing up the chalk, 
which they spread about on the land; and which, being free- 
chalk, is reduced to powder by the frosts. A considerable por- 
tion of the land is covered with wood; and as, in the clearing 
of the land, the clearers followed the good soil, without regard 
to shape of fields, the forms of the woods are of endless variety, 
which, added to the never-ceasing inequalities of the surface 
of the whole, makes this, like all the others of the same descrip- 
tion, a very pleasant country. 

17 November. 

Set off from Uphusband for Hambledon. The first place 
I had to get to was Whitchurch. On my way, and at a short 
distance from Uphusband, down the valley, I went through a 
village called Bourn, which takes its name from the water that 
runs down this valley. A bourn, in the language of our fore- 
fathers, seems to be a river which is, part of the year, without 
water. There is one of these bourns down this pretty valley. 
It has, generally, no water till towards spring, and then it runs 
for several months. It is the same at the Candovers, as you go 
across the downs from Odiham to Winchester. 

The little village of Bourn, therefore, takes its name from its 
situation. Then there are two Hurstbourns, one above and one 
below this village of Bourn. Hurst means, I believe, a forest. 
There were, doubtless, one of those on each side of Bourn; and 
when they became villages, the one above was called Up- 
hurstbourn, and the one below, Down-huTStbourn. ; which names 
have become Uphusband and Downhusband. The lawyers, 
therefore, who, to the immortal honour of high-blood and 
Norman descent, are making such a pretty story out for the 
lord chancellor, relative to a noble peer who voted for the bill 
against the queen, ought to leave off calling the seat of the noble 
person Hursperne ; for it is at Downhurstbourn where he lives, 
and where he was visited by Dr. Bankhead ! 

Whitchurch is a small town, but famous for being the place 
where the paper has been made for the Borough - Bank I I 

Hampshire, Surrey, and Sussex 129 

passed by the mill on my way to get out upon the downs to go 
to Alresford, where I intended to sleep. I hope the time will 
come when a monument will be erected where that mill stands, 
and when on that monument will be inscribed the curse of 
England. This spot ought to be held accursed in all time hence- 
forth and for evermore. It has been the spot from which have 
sprung more and greater mischiefs than ever plagued mankind 
before. However, the evils now appear to be fast recoiling on 
the merciless authors of them; and, therefore, one beholds this 
scene of paper-making with a less degree of rage than formerly. 
My blood used to boil when I thought of the wretches who 
carried on and supported the system. It does not boil now, 
when I think of them. The curse, which they intended solely 
for others, is now falling on themselves; and I smile at their 
sufferings. Blasphemy! Atheism! Who can be an atheist, 
that sees how justly these wretches are treated; with what exact 
measure they are receiving the evils which they inflicted on 
others for a time, and which they intended to inflict on them 
for ever! If, indeed, the monsters had continued to prosper, 
one might have been an atheist. The true history of the rise, 
progress and fall of these monsters, of their power, their crimes 
and their punishment, will do more than has been done before 
to put an end to the doubts of those who have doubts upon this 

Quitting Whitchurch, I went off to the left out of the Win- 
chester road, got out upon the highlands, took an " observa- 
tion," as the sailors call it, and off I rode, in a straight line, over 
hedge and ditch, towards the rising ground between Stratton 
Park and Micheldever Wood; but, before I reached this point, 
I found some wet meadows and some running water in my way 
in a little valley running up from the turnpike road to a little 
place called West Stratton. I, therefore, turned to my left, went 
down to the turnpike, went a little way along it, then turned 
to my left, went along by Stratton Park pales down East 
Stratton Street, and then on towards the Grange Park. Stratton 
Park is the seat of Sir Thomas Baring, who has here several 
thousands of acres of land; who has the living of Micheldever, 
to which, I think, Northington and Swallowfield are joined. 
Above all, he has Micheldever Wood, which, they say, contains 
a thousand acres, and which is one of the finest oak-woods in 
England. This large and very beautiful estate must have 
belonged to the Church at the time of Henry the Eighth's " re- 
formation" It was, I believe, given by him to the family of 

I 30 Rural Rides 

Russell ; and it was, by them, sold to Sir Francis Baring about 
twenty years ago. Upon the whole, all things considered, the 
change is for the better. Sir Thomas Baring would not have 
moved, nay, he did not move, for the pardon of Lopez, while he 
left Joseph Swann in gaol for four years and a half, without so 
much as hinting at Swann's case ! Yea, verily, I would rather 
see this estate in the hands of Sir Thomas Baring than in those 
of Lopez's friend. Besides, it seems to be acknowledged that 
any title is as good as those derived from the old wife-killer. 
Castlereagh, when the Whigs talked in a rather rude manner 
about the sinecure places and pensions, told them that the title 
of the sinecure man or woman was as good as the titles of the Duke 
of Bedford I this was plagiarism, to be sure; for Burke had begun 
it. He called the duke the Leviathan of grants ; and seemed to 
hint at the propriety of overhauling them a little. When the 
men of Kent petitioned for a "just reduction of the National 
Debt," Lord John Russell, with that wisdom for which he is 
renowned, reprobated the prayer; but, having done this in 
terms not sufficiently unqualified and strong, and having made 
use of a word of equivocal meaning, the man that cut his own 
throat at North Cray pitched on upon him and told him that 
the fundh older had as much right to his dividends as the Duke 
of Bedford had to his estates. Upon this the noble reformer 
and advocate for Lopez mended his expressions; and really said 
what the North Cray philosopher said he ought to say ! Come, 
come: Micheldever Wood is in very proper hands ! A little girl, 
of whom I asked my way down into East Stratton, and who was 
dressed in a camlet gown, white apron and plaid cloak (it was 
Sunday), and who had a book in her hand, told me that Lady 
Baring gave her the clothes, and had her taught to read and to 
sing hymns and spiritual songs. 

As I came through the Strattons, I saw not less than a dozen 
girls clad in this same way. It is impossible not to believe that 
this is done with a good motive; but it is possible not to believe 
that it is productive of good. It must create hypocrites., and 
hypocrisy is the great sin of the age. Society is in a queer state 
when the rich think that they must educate the poor in order 
to insure their own safety : for this, at bottom, is the great 
motive now at work in pushing on the education scheme, though 
in this particular case, perhaps, there may be a little enthusiasm 
at work. When persons are glutted with riches; when they 
have their fill of them; when they are surfeited of all earthly 
pursuits, they are very apt to begin to think about the next 

Hampshire, Surrey, and Sussex 131 

world ; and, the moment they begin to think of that, they begin 
to look over the account that they shall have to present. Hence 
the far greater part of what are called " charities." But it is 
the business of governments to take care that there shall be very 
little of this glutting with riches, and very little need of 
" charities." 

From Stratton I went on to Northington Down; then round 
to the south of the Grange Park (Alex. Baring's), down to Abbot- 
son, and over some pretty little green hills to Alresford, which 
is a nice little town of itself, but which presents a singularly 
beautiful view from the last little hill coming from Abbotson. 
I could not pass by the Grange Park without thinking of Lord 
and Lady Henry Stuart, whose lives and deaths surpassed what 
we read of in the most sentimental romances. Very few things 
that I have met with in my life ever filled me with sorrow equal 
to that which I felt at the death of this most virtuous and most 
amiable pair. 

It began raining soon after I got to Alresford, and rained all 
the evening. I heard here, that a requisition for a county 
meeting was in the course of being signed in different parts of 
the county. They mean to petition for reform, I hope. At any 
rate, I intend to go to see what they do. I saw the parsons at 
the county meeting in 1817. I should like, of all things, to see 
them at another meeting now. These are the persons that I 
have most steadily in my eye. The war and the debt were for 
the tithes and the boroughs. These must stand or fall together 
now. I always told the parsons that they were the greatest 
fools in the world to put the tithes on board the same boat with 
the boroughs. I told them so in 1817; and, I fancy, they will 
soon see all about it. 

1 8 November. 

Came from Alresford to Hambledon, through Titchbourn, 
Cheriton, Beauworth, Kilmston, and Exton. This is all a high, 
hard, dry, fox-hunting country. Like that, indeed, over which 
I came yesterday. At Titchbourn there is a park, and " great 
house," as the country-people call it. The place belongs, I 
believe, to a Sir somebody Titchbourne, a family, very likely half 
as old as the name of the village, which, however, partly takes its 
name from the bourn that runs down the valley. I thought, as I 
was riding alongside of this park, that I had heard good of this 
family of Titchbourne, and I therefore saw the park pales with 
sorrow. There is not more than one pale in a yard, and those 

i 32 Rural Rides 

that remain, and the rails and posts and all, seem tumbling 
down. This park-paling is perfectly typical of those of the land- 
lords who are not tax-eaters. They are wasting away very fast. 
The tax-eating landlords think to swim out the gale. They 
are deceived. They are " deluded " by their own greediness. 

Kilmsion was my next place after Titchbourn, but I wanted 
to go to Beauworth, so that I had to go through Cheriton; 
a little, hard, iron village, where all seems to be as old as the hills 
that surround it. In coming along you see Titchbourn church 
away to the right, on the side of the hill, a very pretty little view; 
and this, though such a hard country, is a pretty country. 

At Cheriton I found a grand camp of Gipsy s, just upon the 
move towards Alresford. I had met some of the scouts first, 
and afterwards the advanced guard, and here the main body 
was getting in motion. One of the scouts that I met was a young 
woman, who, I am sure, was six feet high. There were two or 
three more in the camp of about the same height; and some 
most strapping fellows of men. It is curious that this race 
should have preserved their dark skin and coal-black straight 
and coarse hair, very much like that of the American Indians. 
I mean the hair, for the skin has nothing of the copper-colour 
as that of the Indians has. It is not, either, of the Mulatto cast; 
that is to say, there is no yellow in it. It is a black mixed with 
our English colours of pale, or red, and the features are small, 
like those of the girls in Sussex, and often singularly pretty. 
The tall girl that I met at Titchbourn, who had a huckster 
basket on her arm, had most beautiful features. I pulled up 
my horse, and said, " Can you tell me my fortune, my dear? ' 
She answered in the negative, giving me a look at the same tinv 
that seemed to say it was too late ; and that if I had been thirty 
years younger she might have seen a little what she could do 
with me. It is, all circumstances considered, truly surprising 
that this race should have preserved so perfectly all its distinc- 
tive marks. 

I came on to Beauworth to inquire after the family of a worthy 
old farmer, whom I knew there some years ago, and of whose 
death I had heard at Alresford. A bridle road over some fields 
and through a coppice took me to Kilmston, formerly a large 
village, but now mouldered into two farms, and a few miserable 
tumble-down houses for the labourers. Here is a house that 
was formerly the residence of the landlord of the place, but is 
now occupied by one of the farmers. This is a fine country for 
fox-hunting, and Kilmston belonged to a Mr. Ridge who was a 

Hampshire, Surrey, and Sussex 133 

famous fox-hunter, and who is accused of having spent his 
fortune in that way. But what do people mean? He had a 
right to spend his income, as his fathers had done before him. 
It was the Pitt-system, and not the fox-hunting, that took away 
the principal. The place now belongs to a Mr. Long, whose 
origin I cannot find out. 

From Kilmston I went right over the downs to the top of a 
hill called Beacon Hill, which is one of the loftiest hills in the 
country. Here you can see the Isle of Wight in detail, a fine 
sweep of the sea; also away into Sussex, and over the New 
Forest into Dorsetshire. Just below you, to the east, you look 
down upon the village of Exton ; and you can see up this valley 
(which is called a Bourn too) as far as West-Meon, and down it 
as far as Soberton. Corhampton, Warnford, Meon-Stoke and 
Droxford come within these two points; so that here are six 
villages on this bourn within the space of about five miles. On 
the other side of the main valley down which the bourn runs, 
and opposite Beacon Hill, is another such a hill, which they call 
Old Winchester Hill. On the top of this hill there was once a 
camp, or rather fortress; and the ramparts are now pretty 
nearly as visible as ever. The same is to be seen on the Beacon 
Hill at Highclere. These ramparts had nothing of the principles 
of modern fortification in their formation. You see no signs of 
salient angles. It was a ditch and a bank, and that appears to 
have been all. I had, I think, a full mile to go down from the 
top of Beacon Hill to Exton. This is the village where that 
Parson Baines lives who, as described by me in 1817, bawled in 
Lord Cochrane's ear at Winchester in the month of March of 
that year. Parson Poulter lives at Meon-Stoke, which is not 
a mile further down. So that this valley has something in it 
besides picturesque views! I asked some countrymen how 
Poulter and Baines did; but their answer contained too much of 
irreverence for me to give it here. 

At Exton I crossed the Gosport turnpike-road, came up the 
cross valley under the south side of Old Winchester Hill, over 
Stoke Down, then over West-End Down, and then to my friend's 
house at West-End in the parish of Hambledon. 

Thus have I crossed nearly the whole of this country from 
the north-west to the south-east, without going five hundred 
yards on a turnpike-road, and, as nearly as I could do it, in a 
straight line. 

The whole country that I have crossed is loam and flints, 
upon a bottom of chalk. At Alresford there are some 

134 Rural Rides 

watered meadows, which are the beginning of a chain of 
meadows that goes all the way down to Winchester, and 
hence to Southampton; but even these meadows have, at 
Alresford, chalk under them. The water that supplies them 
comes out of a pond, called Alresford Pond, which is fed 
from the high hills in the neighbourhood. These counties 
are purely agricultural; and they have suffered most cruelly 
from the accursed Pitt-system. Their hilliness, bleakness, 
roughness of roads, render them unpleasant to the luxurious, 
effeminate, tax-eating crew, who never come near them, and 
who have pared them down to the very bone. The villages 
are all in a state of decay. The farm-buildings dropping down, 
bit by bit. The produce is, by a few great farmers, dragged to 
a few spots, and all the rest is falling into decay. If this infernal 
system could go on for forty years longer, it would make all the 
labourers as much slaves as the negroes are, and subject to the 
same sort of discipline and management. 

19 to 23 November. 

At West-End. Hambledon is a long, straggling village, lying 
in a little valley formed by some very pretty but not lofty hills. 
The environs are much prettier than the village itself, which is 
not far from the north side of Portsdown Hill. This must have 
once been a considerable place; for here is a church pretty 
nearly as large as that at Farnham in Surrey, which is quite 
sufficient for a large town. The means of living has been drawn 
away from these villages, and the people follow the means. 
Cheriton and Kilmston and Hambledon and the like have been 
beggared for the purpose of giving tax-eaters the means of 
making " vast improvements, ma am," on the villainous spewy 
gravel of Windsor Forest! The thing, however, must go back. 
Revolution here or revolution there: bawl, bellow, alarm, as 
long as the tax-eaters like, back the thing must go. Back, 
indeed, it is going in some quarters. Those scenes of glorious 
loyalty, the sea-port places, are beginning to be deserted. 
How many villages has that scene of all that is wicked and 
odious, Portsmouth, Gosport, and Portsea; how many villages 
has that hellish assemblage beggared ! It is now being scattered 
itself I Houses which there let for forty or fifty pounds a year 
each, now let for three or four shillings a week each; and thou- 
sands, perhaps, cannot be let at all to anybody capable of paying 
rent. There is an absolute tumbling down taking place, where, 
so lately, there were such " vast improvements, ma'am ! " 

Hampshire, Surrey, and Sussex 135 

Does Monsieur de Snip call those improvements, then? Does 
he insist that those houses form " an addition to the national 
capital ? ' Is it any wonder that a country should be miserable 
when such notions prevail? And when they can, even in the 
Parliament, be received with cheering? 

24 Nov. Sunday. 

Set off from Hambledon to go to Thursley in Surrey, about 
five miles from Godalming. Here I am at Thursley, after 
as interesting a day as I ever spent in all my life. They 
say that " variety is charming," and this day I have had of 
scenes and of soils a variety indeed ! 

To go to Thursley from Hambledon the plain way was up the 
downs to Petersfield, and then along the turnpike-road through 
Liphook, and over Hindhead, at the north-east foot of which 
Thursley lies. But I had been over that sweet Hindhead, and 
had seen too much of turnpike-road and of heath, to think of 
taking another so large a dose of them. The map of Hampshire 
(and we had none of Surrey) showed me the way to Headley, 
which lies on the west of Hindhead, down upon the flat. I knew 
it was but about five miles from Headley to Thursley; and I, 
therefore, resolved to go to Headley, in spite of all the remon- 
strances of friends, who represented to me the danger of breaking 
my neck at Hawkley and of getting buried in the bogs of 
Woolmer Forest. My route was through East-Meon, Froxfield, 
Hawkley, Greatham, and then over Woolmer Forest (a heath if 
you please), to Headley. 

Off we set over the downs (crossing the bottom sweep of Old 
Winchester Hill) from West-End to East-Meon. We came 
down a long and steep hill that led us winding round into the 
village, which lies in a valley that runs in a direction nearly east 
and west, and that has a rivulet that comes out of the hills 
towards Petersfield. If I had not seen anything further to-day, 
I should have dwelt long on the beauties of this place. Here is 
a very fine valley, in nearly an elliptical form, sheltered by high 
hills sloping gradually from it; and not far from the middle of 
this valley there is a hill nearly in the form of a goblet-glass 
with the foot and stem broken off and turned upside down. 
And this is clapped down upon the level of the valley, just as you 
would put such goblet upon a table. The hill is lofty, partly 
covered with wood, and it gives an air of great singularity to 
the scene. I am sure that East-Meon has been a large place. 
The church has a Saxon tower pretty nearly equal, as far as I 

Rural Rides 

recollect, to that of the cathedral at Winchester. The rest of 
the church has been rebuilt, and, perhaps, several times; but 
the tower is complete; it has had a steeple put upon it; but it 
retains all its beauty, and it shows that the church (which is still 
large) must, at first, have been a very large building. Let those 
who talk so glibly of the increase of the population in England, 
go over the country from Highclere to Hambledon. Let them 
look at the size of the churches, and let them observe those 
numerous small inclosures on every side of every village, which 
had, to a certainty, each its house in former times. But let 
them go to East-Meon, and account for that church. Where 
did the hands come from to make it? Look, however, at the 
downs, the many square miles of downs near this village, all 
bearing the marks of the plough, and all out of tillage for many 
many years; yet not one single inch of them but what is vastly 
superior in quality to any of those great " improvements " on 
the miserable heaths of Hounslow, Bagshot, and Windsor Forest. 
It is the destructive, the murderous paper-system, that has 
transferred the fruit of the labour, and the people along with it, 
from the different parts of the country to the neighbourhood 
of the all-devouring Wen. I do not believe one word of what is 
said of the increase of the population. All observation and all 
reason is against the fact; and, as to the parliamentary returns, 
what need we more than this : that they assert that the popula- 
tion of Great Britain has increased from ten to fourteen millions 
in the last twenty years 1 That is enough ! A man that can suck 
that in will believe, literally believe, that the moon is made of 
green cheese. Such a thing is too monstrous to be swallowed by 
anybody but Englishmen, and by any Englishman not brutified 
by a Pitt-system. 



10 December 1822. 

SIR, The agreeable news from France, relative to the intended 
invasion of Spain, compelled me to break off, in my last letter, 
in the middle of my Rural Ride of Sunday, the 24th of November. 
Before I mount again, which I shall do in this letter, pray let me 
ask you what sort of apology is to be offered to the nation, if 
the French Bourbons be permitted to take quiet possession of 

Hampshire, Surrey, and Sussex I 37 

Cadiz and of the Spanish naval force? Perhaps you mav be 
disposed to answer, when you have taken time to reflect ; a d, 
therefore, leaving you to muse on the matter, I will resume my 

24 November. 

(Sunday.) From Hambledon to Thursley (continued). 

From East-Meon, I did not go on to Froxfield church, but 
turned off to the left to a place (a couple of houses) called Bower. 
Near this I stopped at a friend's house, which is in about as 
lonely a situation as I ever saw. A very pleasant place how- 
ever. The lands dry, a nice mixture of woods and fields, and 
a great variety of hill and dell. 

Before I came to East-Meon, the soil of the hills was a shallow 
loam with flints, on a bottom of chalk; but, on this side of the 
valley of East-Meon; that is to say, on the north side, the soil 
on the hills is a deep, stiff loam, on a bed of a sort of gravel 
mixed with chalk; and the stones, instead of being grey on the 
outside and blue on the inside, are yellow on the outside and 
whitish on the inside. In coming on further to the north, I 
found that the bottom was sometimes gravel and sometimes 
chalk. Here, at the time when whatever it was that formed these 
hills and valleys, the stuff of which Hindhead is composed seems 
to have run down and mixed itself with the stuff of which Old 
Winchester Hill is composed. Free chalk (which is the sort 
found here) is excellent manure for stiff land, and it produces 
a complete change in the nature of days. It is, therefore, dug 
here, on the north of East-Meon, about in the fields, where it 
happens to be found, and is laid out upon the surface, where it is 
crumbled to powder by the frost, and thus gets incorporated 
with the loam. 

At Bower I got instructions to go to Hawkley, but accom- 
panied with most earnest advice not to go that way, for that 
it was impossible to get along. The roads were represented as 
so bad; the floods so much out; the hills and bogs so dangerous; 
that, really, I began to doubt ; and, if I had not been brought 
up amongst the clays of the Holt Forest and the bogs of the 
neighbouring heaths, I should certainly have turned off to 
my right, to go over Hindhead, great as was my objection to 
going that way. " Well, then," said my friend at Bower, " if 
you will go that way, by G , you must go down Hawkley 
Hanger ; " of which he then gave me such a description! But 
even this I found to fall short of the reality. I inquired simply, 

i 38 Rural Rides 

whether people were in the habit of going down it; and the 
answer being in the affirmative, on I went through green lanes 
and bridle-ways till I came to the turnpike-road from Peters- 
field to Winchester, which I crossed, going into a narrow and 
almost untrodden green lane, on the side of which I found a 
cottage. Upon my asking the way to Hawkley, the woman at 
the cottage said, " Right up the lane, sir: you'll come to a 
hanger presently: you must take care, sir: you can't ride down: 
will your horses go alone ? ' 

On we trotted up this pretty green lane; and indeed, we had 
been coming gently and generally uphill for a good while. The 
lane was between highish banks and pretty high stuff growing 
on the banks, so that we could see no distance from us, and 
could receive not the smallest hint of what was so near at hand. 
The lane had a little turn towards the end; so that, out we 
came, all in a moment, at the very edge of the hanger! And 
never, in all my life, was I so surprised and so delighted! I 
pulled up my horse, and sat and looked; and it was like looking 
from the top of a castle down into the sea, except that the 
valley was land and not water. I looked at my servant, to see 
what effect this unexpected sight had upon him. Plis surprise 
was as great as mine, though he had been bred amongst the 
North Hampshire hills. Those who had so strenuously dwelt 
on the dirt and dangers of this route, had said not a word about 
beauties, the matchless beauties of the scenery. These hangers 
are woods on the sides of very steep hills. The trees and under- 
wood hang, in some sort, to the ground, instead of standing on 
it. Hence these places are called Hangers. From the summit 
of that which I had now to descend, I looked down upon the 
villages of Hawkley, Greatham, Selborne and some others. 

From the south-east, round, southward, to the north-west, 
the main valley has cross-valleys running out of it, the hills on 
the sides of which are very steep, and, in many parts, covered 
with wood. The hills that form these cross-valleys run out 
into the main valley, like piers into the sea. Two of these 
promontories, of great height, are on the west side of the main 
valley, and were the first objects that struck my sight when 
I came to the edge of the hanger, which was on the south. The 
ends of these promontories are nearly perpendicular, and their 
tops so high in the air, that you cannot look at the village below 
without something like a feeling of apprehension. The leaves 
are all off, the hop-poles are in stack, the fields have little ver- 
dure; but, while the spot is beautiful beyond description even 

Hampshire, Surrey, and Sussex 139 

now, I must leave to imagination to suppose what it is when 
the trees and hangers and hedges are in leaf, the corn waving, 
the meadows bright, and the hops upon the poles 1 

From the south-west, round, eastward, to the north, lie the 
heaths, of which Woolmer Forest makes a part, and these go 
gradually rising up to Hindhead, the crown of which is to the 
north-west, leaving the rest of the circle (the part from north 
to north-west) to be occupied by a continuation of the valley 
towards Headley, Binstead, Frensham and the Holt Forest. 
So that even the contrast in the view from the top of the hanger 
is as great as can possibly be imagined. Men, however, are not 
to have such beautiful views as this without some trouble. We 
had had the view; but we had to go down the hanger. We had, 
indeed, some roads to get along, as we could, afterwards; but 
we had to get down the hanger first. The horses took the lead, 
and crept partly down upon their feet and partly upon their 
hocks. It was extremely slippery too; for the soil is a sort of 
marl, or, as they call it here, maume, or mame, which is, when 
wet, very much like grey soap. In such a case it was likely that 
I should keep in the rear, which I did, and I descended by taking 
hold of the branches of the underwood, and so letting myself 
down. When we got to the bottom, I bade my man, when he 
should go back to Uphusband, tell the people there that Ash- 
mansworth Lane is not the worst piece of road in the world. Our 
worst, however, was not come yet, nor had we by any means 
seen the most novel sights. 

After crossing a little field and going through a farmyard, 
we came into a lane, which was, at once, road and river. We 
found a hard bottom, however; and when we got out of the 
water, we got into a lane with high banks. The banks were 
quarries of white stone, like Portland-stone, and the bed of the 
road was of the same stone; and, the rains having been heavy 
for a day or two before, the whole was as clean and as white as 
the steps of a fundholder or dead-weight doorway in one of the 
squares of the Wen. Here were we, then, going along a stone 
road with stone banks, and yet the underwood and trees grew 
well upon the tops of the banks. In the solid stone beneath us, 
there were a horse-track and wheel-tracks, the former about three 
and the latter about six inches deep. How many many ages 
it must have taken the horses' feet, the wheels, and the water, 
to wear down this stone so as to form a hollow way! The 
horses seemed alarmed at their situation; they trod with fear; 
but they took us along very nicely, and, at last, got us safe into 

140 Rural Rides 

the indescribable dirt and mire of the road from Hawkley 
Green to Greatham. Here the bottom of all the land is 
this solid white stone, and the top is that mame, which I have 
before described. The hop-roots penetrate down into this 
stone. How deep the stone may go I know not; but, when 
I came to look up at the end of one of the piers, or promon- 
tories, mentioned above, I found that it was all of this same 

At Hawkley Green I asked a farmer the way to Thursley. 
He pointed to one of two roads going from the green; but, it 
appearing to me that that would lead me up to the London road 
and over Hindhead, I gave him to understand that I was 
resolved to get along, somehow or other, through the " low 
countries." He besought me not to think of it. However, 
finding me resolved, he got a man to go a little way to put me 
into the Greatham road. The man came, but the farmer could 
not let me go off without renewing his entreaties that I would 
go away to Liphook, in which entreaties the man joined, though 
he was to be paid very well for his trouble. 

Off we went, however, to Greatham. I am thinking whether 
I ever did see worse roads. Upon the whole, I think, I have; 
though I am not sure that the roads of New Jersey, between 
Trenton and Elizabeth Town, at the breaking up of winter, be 
worse. Talk of shows, indeed! Take a piece of this road; 
just a cut across, and a rod long, and carry it up to London. 
That would be something like a show 1 

Upon leaving Greatham we came out upon Woolmer Forest. 
Just as we were coming out of Greatham, I asked a man the 
way to Thursley. " You must go to Liphook, sir," said he. 
" But," I said, " I will not go to Liphook." These people 
seemed to be posted at all these stages to turn me aside from 
my purpose, and to make me go over that Hindhead, which I 
had resolved to avoid. I went on a little further, and asked 
another man the way to Headley, which, as I have already 
observed, lies on the western foot of Hindhead, whence I knew 
there must be a road to Thursley (which lies at the north-east 
foot) without going over that miserable hill. The man told 
me that I must go across the forest. I asked him whether it 
was a good road : " It is a sound road," said he, laying a weighty 
emphasis upon the word sound. " Do people go it? " said I. 

Ye-es" said he. " Oh then," said I, to my man, " as it is a 
sound road, keep you close to my heels, and do not attempt to 
go aside, not even for a foot." Indeed, it was a sound road. 

Hampshire, Surrey, and Sussex 141 

The rain of the night had made the fresh horse tracks visible. 
And we got to Headley in a short time, over a sand-road, which 
seemed so delightful after the flints and stone and dirt and 
sloughs that we had passed over and through since the morning ! 
This road was not, if we had been benighted, without its dangers, 
the forest being full of quags and quicksands. This is a tract 
of Crown-lands, or, properly speaking, public-lands, on some 
parts of which our land steward, Mr. Huskisson, is making some 
plantations of trees, partly fir, and partly other trees. What 
he can plant the^r for, God only knows, seeing that the country 
is already over-stocked with that rubbish. But this public- 
land concern is a very great concern. 

If I were a member of Parliament, I would know what timber 
has been cut down, and what it has been sold for, since year 
1790. However, this matter must be investigated, first or last. 
It never can be omitted in the winding up of the concern; 
and that winding up must come out of wheat at four shillings 
a bushel. It is said, hereabouts, that a man who lives near 
Liphook, and who is so mighty a hunter and game pursuer, that 
they call him William Rufus ; it is said that this man is Lord 
of the Manor of Woolmer Forest. This he cannot be without 
a grant to that effect; and, if there be a grant, there must have 
been a reason for the grant. This reason I should very much 
like to know; and this I would know if I were a member of 
Parliament. That the people call him the Lord of the Manor 
is certain; but he can hardly make preserves of the plantations; 
for it is well known how marvellously hares and young trees agree 
together ! This is a matter of great public importance; and yet, 
how, in the present state of things, is an investigation to be 
obtained? Is there a man in parliament that will call for it? 
Not one. Would a dissolution of Parliament mend the matter? 
No: for the same men would be there still. They are the same 
men that have been there for these thirty years; and the same 
men they will be, and they must be, until there be a reform. 
To be sure when one dies, or cuts his throat (as in the case of 
Castlereagh), another one comes; but it is the same body. And, 
as long as it is that same body, things will always go on as they 
now go on. However, as Mr. Canning says the body " works 
well," we must not say the contrary. 

The soil of this tract is, generally, a black sand, which, in 
some places, becomes peat, which makes very tolerable fuel. In 
some parts there is clay at bottom; and there the oaks would 
grow ; but not while there are hares in any number on the forest. 

142 Rural Rides 

If trees be to grow here, there ought to be no hares, and as little 
hunting as possible. 

We got to Headley, the sign of the Holly Bush, just at dusk, 
and just as it began to rain. I had neither eaten nor drunk 
since eight o'clock in the morning; and as it was a nice little 
public-house, I at first intended to stay all night, an intention 
that I afterwards very indiscreetly gave up. I had laid my 
plan, which included the getting to Thursley that night. When, 
therefore, I had got some cold bacon and bread, and some milk, 
I began to feel ashamed of stopping short of my plan, especially 
after having so heroically persevered in the " stern path," and 
so disdainfully scorned to go over Hindhead. I knew that my 
road lay through a hamlet called Churt, where they grow such 
fine bennet-grass seed. There was a moon; but there was also 
a hazy rain. I had heaths to go over, and I might go into quags. 
Wishing to execute my plan, however, I at last brought myself 
to quit a very comfortable turf-fire, and to set off in the rain, 
having bargained to give a man three shillings to guide me out 
to the northern foot of Hindhead. I took care to ascertain 
that my guide knew the road perfectly well; that is to say, I 
took care to ascertain it as far as I could, which was, indeed, 
no further than his word would go. Off we set, the guide 
mounted on his own or master's horse, and with a white smock 
frock, which enabled us to see him clearly. \Ve trotted on 
pretty fast for about half an hour; and I perceived, not without 
some surprise, that the rain, which I knew to be coming from the 
south, met me full in the face, when it ought, according to my 
reckoning, to have beat upon my right cheek. I called to the 
guide repeatedly to ask him if he was sure that he was right, to 
which he always answered, " Oh ! yes, sir, I know the road." 
I did not like this, " / know the road." At last, after going about 
six miles in nearly a southern direction, the guide turned short 
to the left. That brought the rain upon my right cheek, and, 
though I could not very well account for the long stretch to the 
south, I thought that, at any rate, we were now in the right 
track; and, after going about a mile in this new direction, I 
began to ask the guide how much further we had to go ; for I 
had got a pretty good soaking, and was rather impatient to see 
the foot of Hindhead. Just at this time, in raising my head and 
looking forward as I spoke to the guide, what should I see but a 
long, high, and steep hanger arising before us, the trees along 
the top of which I could easily distinguish ! The fact was, we 
were just getting to the outside of the heath, and were on the 

Hampshire, Surrey, and Sussex 143 

brow of a steep hill, which faced this hanging wood. The guide 
had begun to descend; and I had called to him to stop; for the 
hill was so steep, that, rain as it did and wet as my saddle must 
be, I got off my horse in order to walk down. But, now behold, 
the fellow discovered that he had lost his way I Where we were 
I could not even guess. There was but one remedy, and that 
was to get back, if we could. I became guide now; and did 
as Mr. Western is advising the ministers to do, retraced my steps. 
We went back about half the way that we had come, when we 
saw two men, who showed us the way that we ought to go. At 
the end of about a mile, we fortunately found the turnpike-road; 
not, indeed, at the/00/, but on the tip-top of that very Hindhead, 
on which I had so repeatedly vowed I would not go ! We came 
out on the turnpike some hundred yards on the Liphook side 
of the buildings called the Hut ; so that we had the whole of 
three miles of hill to come down at not much better than a foot 
pace, with a good pelting rain at our backs. 

It is odd enough how differently one is affected by the same 
sight, under different circumstances. At the " Holly Bush " 
at Headley there was a room full of fellows in white smock 
frocks, drinking and smoking and talking, and I, who was then 
dry and warm, moralised within myself on their/0//y in spending 
their time in such a way. But when I got down from Hindhead 
to the public-house at Road Lane, with my skin soaking and my 
teeth chattering, I thought just such another group, whom I 
saw through the window sitting round a good fire with pipes in 
their mouths, the wisest assembly I had ever set my eyes on. 
A real Collective Wisdom. And I most solemnly declare, that 
I felt a greater veneration for them than I have ever felt even 
for the Privy Council, notwithstanding the Right Honourable 
Charles Wynn and the Right Honourable Sir John Sinclair 
belong to the latter. 

It was now but a step to my friend's house, where a good 
fire and a change of clothes soon put all to rights, save and 
except the having come over Hindhead after all my resolutions. 
This mortifying circumstance; this having been beaten, lost the 
guide the three shillings that I had agreed to give him. " Either," 
said I, " you did not know the way well, or you did: if the 
former, it was dishonest in you to undertake to guide me: if the 
latter, you have wilfully led me miles out of my way." He 
grumbled; but off he went. He certainly deserved nothing; 
for he did not know the way, and he prevented some other man 
from earning and receiving the money. But had he not caused 

144 Rural Rides 

me to get upon Hindhead, he would have had the three shillings. 
I had, at one time, got my hand in my pocket; but the thought 
of having been beaten pulled it out again. 

Thus ended the most interesting day, as far as I know, that I 
ever passed in all my life. Hawkley-hangers, promontories, 
and stone-roads will always come into my mind when I see, or 
hear of, picturesque views. I forgot to mention that, in going 
from Hawkley to Greatham, the man who went to show me the 
way, told me at a certain fork, " that road goes to Selborne." 
This put me in mind of a book, which was once recommended 
to me, but which I never saw, entitled The History and An- 
tiquities of Selborne (or something of that sort), written, I 
think, by a parson of the name of White, brother of Mr. White, 
so long a bookseller in Fleet Street. This parson had, I think, 
the living of the parish of Selborne. The book was mentioned 
to me as a work of great curiosity and interest. But, at that 
time, the THING was biting so very sharply that one had no atten- 
tion to bestow on antiquarian researches. Wheat at 39$. a 
quarter, and South -Down ewes at 125. 6d. have so weakened the 
THING'S jaws and so filed down its teeth, that I shall now certainly 
read this book if I can get it. By the bye, if all the parsons had, 
for the last thirty years, employed their leisure time in writing 
the histories of their several parishes, instead of living, as many 
of them have, engaged in pursuits that I need not here name, 
neither their situation nor that of their flocks would, perhaps, 
have been the worse for it at this day. 

25 Nov. 

In looking back into Hampshire, I see with pleasure the 
farmers bestirring themselves to get a county meeting called. 
r [ ' were, I was told, nearly five hundred names to a requisi- 
tion a d those all of land-owners or occupiers. Precisely what 
the\ mean to petition for I do not know; but (and now I address 
myself to you, Mr. Canning), if they do not petition for a reform 
oj the Parliament, they will do worse than nothing. You, sir, 
have often told us that the House, however got together, 
" works well." Now, as I said in 1817, just before I went to 
America to get out of the reach of our friend, the Old Doctor, 
arid to use my long arm ; as I said then, in a letter addressed 
to Lord Grosvenor, so I say now, show me the inexpediency of 
reform, and I will hold my tongue. Show us, prove to us, that 
the House " works well," and I, for my part, give the matter 

Hampshire, Surrey, and Sussex 145 

up. It is not the construction or the motions of a machine 
that I ever look at: all I look after is the effect. When, indeed, 
I find that the effect is deficient or evil, I look to the construction. 
And as I now see, and have for many years seen, evil effect, I 
seek a remedy in an alteration in the machine. There is now 
nobody, no, not a single man, out of the regions of Whitehall, 
who will pretend that the country can, without the risk of some 
great and terrible convulsion, go on, even for twelve months 
longer, unless there be a great change of some sort in the mode 
of managing the public affairs. 

Could you see and hear what I have seen and heard during 
this Rural Ride, you would no longer say that the House 
" works well." Mrs. Canning and your children are dear to 
you; but, sir, not more dear than are to them the wives and 
children of, perhaps, two hundred thousand men, who, by the 
Acts of this same House, see those wives and children doomed 
to beggary, and to beggary, too, never thought of, never regarded 
as more likely than a blowing up of the earth or a falling of the 
sun. It was reserved for this " working well " House to make 
the firesides of farmers scenes of gloom. These firesides, in 
which I have always so delighted, I now approach with pain. 
I was, not long ago, sitting round the fire with as worthy and as 
industrious a man as all England contains. There was his son, 
about 19 years of age; two daughters from 15 to 18; and a 
little boy sitting on the father's knee. I knew, but not from 
him, that there was a mortgage on his farm. I was anxious to 
induce him to sell without delay. With this view I, in an hypo- 
thetical and roundabout way, approached his case, and at last 
I came to final consequences. The deep and deeper gloom on 
a countenance once so cheerful told me what was passing in 
his breast, when turning away my looks in order to seem not to 
perceive the effect of my words, I saw the eyes of his wife full 
of tears. She had made the application; and there were her 
children before her ! And am I to be banished for life if I 
express what I felt upon this occasion ! And does this House, 
then, " work well? ' How many men of the most industrious, 
the most upright, the most exemplary, upon the face of the 
earth, have been, by this one Act of this House, driven to despair, 
ending in madness or self-murder, or both! Nay, how many 
scores ! And yet are we to be banished for life, if we endeavour 
to show that this House does not "work well?" However, 
banish or banish not, these facts are notorious : the House made 
all the Loans which constitute the debt: the House contracted 


Rural Rides 

for the dead weight: the House put a stop to gold-payments 
in 1797: the House unanimously passed Peel's Bill. Here are 
all the causes of the ruin, the misery, the anguish, the despair, 
and the madness and self-murders. Here they are all. They 
have all been Acts of this House; and yet, we are to be banished 
if we say, in words suitable to the subject, that this House does 
not " work well I ' 

This one Act, I mean this Banishment Act, would be 
enough, with posterity, to characterise this House. When they 
read (and can believe what they read) that it actually passed 
a law to banish for life any one who should write, print, or 
publish anything having a tendency to bring it into contempt ; 
when posterity shall read this, and believe it, they will want 
nothing more to enable them to say what sort of an assembly 
it was! It was delightful, too, that they should pass this law 
just after they had passed Peels Bill I Oh, God ! thou art just I 
As to reform, it must come. Let what else will happen, it must 
come. Whether before, or after, all the estates be transferred, 
I cannot say. But this I know very well; that the later it 
come, the deeper will it go. 

I shall, of course, go on remarking, as occasion offers, upon 
what is done by and said in this present House; but I know 
that it can do nothing efficient for the relief of the country. I 
have seen some men of late, who seem to think that even a 
reform, enacted or begun by this House, would be an evil; 
and that it would be better to let the whole thing go on, and 
produce its natural consequence. I am not of this opinion: I 
am for a reform as soon as possible, even though it be not, at 
first, precisely what I could wish ; because, if the debt blow up 
before the reform take place, confusion and uproar there must 
be; and I do not want to see confusion and uproar. I am for 
a reform of some sort, and soon ; but when I say of some sort, I 
do not mean of Lord John Russell's sort; I do not mean a 
reform in the Lopez way. In short, what I want is to see the 
men changed. I want to see other men in the House; and as 
to who those other men should be, I really should not be very 
nice. I have seen the Tierneys, the Bankeses, the Wilberforces, 
the Michael Angelo Taylors, the Lambs, the Lowthers, the Davis 
Giddies, the Sir John Sebrights, the Sir Francis Burdetts, the 
Hobhouses, old or young, Whitbreads the same, the Lord Johns 
and the Lord Williams and the Lord Henries and the Lord 
Charleses, and, in short, all the whole family ; I have seen them 
all there, all the same faces and names, all my lifetime; I 

Hampshire, Surrey, and Sussex 147 

see that neither adjournment nor prorogation nor dissolution 
makes any change in the men ; and caprice let it be if you like, 
I want to see a change in the men. These have done enough in all 
conscience; or at least, they have done enough to satisfy me. 
I want to see some fresh faces, and to hear a change of some 
sort or other in the sounds. A " hear, hear," coming ever- 
lastingly from the same mouths, is what I, for my part, am 
tired of. 

I am aware that this is not what the " great reformers " in 
the House mean. They mean, on the contrary, no such thing 
as a change of men. They mean that Lopez should sit there for 
ever; or, at least, till succeeded by a legitimate heir. I believe 
that Sir Francis Burdett, for instance, has not the smallest idea 
of an Act of Parliament ever being made without his assistance, 
if he chooses to assist, which is not very frequently the case. I 
believe that he looks upon a seat in the House as being his 
property; and that the other seat is, and ought to be, held as 
a sort of leasehold or copyhold under him. My idea of reform, 
therefore, my change of faces and of names and of sounds will 
appear quite horrible to him. However, I think the nation 
begins to be very much of my way of thinking; and this I am 
very sure ef, that we shall never see that change in the manage- 
ment of affairs which we most of us want to see, unless there be 
a pretty complete change of men. 

Some people will blame me for speaking out so broadly upon 
this subject. But I think it the best way to disguise nothing; 
to do what is right ; to be sincere; and to let come what will. 


26 to 28 November. 

I came here to meet my son, who was to return to London 
when we had done our business. The turnips are pretty good 
all over the country, except upon the very thin soils on the 
chalk. At Thursley they are very good, and so they are upon 
all these nice light and good lands round about Godalming. 

This is a very pretty country. You see few prettier spots 
than this. The chain of little hills that run along to the south 
and south-east of Godalming, and the soil, which is a good loam 
upon a sand-stone bottom, run down on the south side, into 
what is called the Weald. This Weald is a bed of clay, in which 
nothing grows well but oak trees. It is first the Weald of 
Surrey, and then the Weald of Sussex. It runs along on the 

i 4 8 

Rural Rides 

south of Dorking, Reigate, Bletchingley, Godstone, and then 
winds away down into Kent. In no part of it, as far as I have 
observed, do the oaks grow finer than between the sand-hill on 
the south of Godstone and a place called Fellbridge, where the 
county of Surrey terminates on the road to East Grinstead. 

At Godalming we heard some account of a lawsuit between 
Mr. Holme Sumner and his tenant, Mr. Nash ; but the particulars 
I must reserve till I have them in black and white. 

In all parts of the country, I hear of landlords that begin to 
squeak, which is a certain proof that they begin to feel the bottom 
of their tenants' pockets. No man can pay rent, I mean any 
rent at all, except out of capital; or except under some peculiar 
circumstances, such as having a farm near a spot where the 
fund-holders are building houses. When I was in Hampshire, I 
heard of terrible breakings up in the Isle of Wight. They say 
that the general rout is very near at hand there. I heard of one 
farmer, who held a farm at seven hundred pounds a year, who 
paid his rent annually, and punctually, who had, of course, seven 
hundred pounds to pay to his landlord last Michaelmas; but 
who, before Michaelmas came, thrashed out and sold (the 
harvest being so early) the whole of his corn; sold off his stock, 
bit by bit; got the very goods out of his house, leaving only a 
bed and some trifling things; sailed with a fair wind over to 
France with his family; put his mother-in-law into the house 
to keep possession of the house and farm, and to prevent the 
landlord from entering upon the land for a year or better, unless 
he would pay to the mother-in-law a certain sum of money! 
Doubtless the landlord had already sucked away about three 
or four times seven hundred pounds from this farmer. He would 
not be able to enter upon his farm without a process that would 
cost him some money, and without the farm being pretty well 
stocked with thistles and docks, and perhaps laid half to common. 
Farmers on the coast opposite France are not so firmly bounden 
as those in the interior. Some hundreds of these will have 
carried their allegiance, their capital (what they have left), and 
their skill, to go and grease the fat sow, our old friends the 
Bourbons. I hear of a sharp, greedy, hungry shark of a land- 
lord, who says that " some law must be passed; " that " Parlia- 
ment must do something to prevent this ! ' There is a pretty 
fool for you! There is a great jackass (I beg the real jackass's 
pardon), to imagine that the people at Westminster can do any- 
thing to prevent the French from suffering people to come with 
their money to settle in France! This fool does not know, 

Hampshire, Surrey, and Sussex 149 

perhaps, that there are members of Parliament that live in 
France more than they do in England. I have heard of one, 
who not only lives there, but carries on vineyards there, and 
is never absent from them, except when he comes over " to 
attend to his duties in Parliament." He perhaps sells his wine 
at the same time, and that being genuine, doubtless brings him 
a good price; so that the occupations harmonise together very 
well. The Isle of Wight must be rather peculiarly distressed; 
for it was the scene of monstrous expenditure. When the pure 
Whigs were in power, in 1806, it was proved to them and to the 
Parliament, that in several instances, a barn in the Isle of Wight 
was rented by the " envy of surrounding nations ' for more 
money than the rest of the whole farm! These barns were 
wanted as barracks ; and, indeed, such things were carried on in 
that island as never could have been carried on under anything 
that was not absolutely " the admiration of the world." These 
sweet pickings caused, doubtless, a great rise in the rent of the 
farms; so that, in this island, there is not only the depression 
of price, and a greater depression than anywhere else, but also 
the loss of the pickings, and these together leave the tenants but 
this simple choice, beggary or flight; and as most of them have 
had a pretty deal of capital, and will be likely to have some left 
as yet, they will, as they perceive the danger, naturally flee for 
succour to the Bourbons. This is, indeed, something new in the 
history of English agriculture; and were not Mr. Canning so 
positive to the contrary, one would almost imagine that the thing 
which has produced it does not work so very well. However, 
that gentleman seems resolved to prevent us, by his King of 
Bohemia and his two Red Lions, from having any change in this 
thing; and therefore the landlords, in the Isle of Wight, as well 
as elsewhere, must make the best of the matter. 

November 29. 

Went on to Guildford, where I slept. Everybody that has 
been from Godalming to Guildford, knows that there is hardly 
another such a pretty four miles in all England. The road is 
good; the soil is good; the houses are neat; the people are neat: 
the hills, the woods, the meadows, all are beautiful. Nothing 
wild and bold, to be sure, but exceedingly pretty; and it is 
almost impossible to ride along these four miles without feelings 
of pleasure, though you have rain for your companion, as it 
happened to be with me. 

150 Rural Rides 


November 30. 

I came over the high hill on the south of Guildford, and came 
down to Chilworth., and up the valley to Albury. I noticed, in 
my first Rural Ride, this beautiful valley, its hangers, its 
meadows, its hop-gardens, and its ponds. This valley of Chil- 
worth has great variety, and is very pretty; but after seeing 
Hawkley, every other place loses in point of beauty and interest. 
This pretty valley of Chilworth has a run of water which comes 
out of the high hills, and which, occasionally, spreads into a 
pond; so that there is in fact a series of ponds connected by this 
run of water. This valley, which seems to have been created 
by a bountiful providence, as one of the choicest retreats of man; 
which seems formed for a scene of innocence and happiness, has 
been, by ungrateful man, so perverted as to make it instrumental 
in effecting two of the most damnable of purposes; in carrying 
into execution two of the most damnable inventions that ever 
sprang from the minds of men under the influence of the devil ! 
namely, the making of gunpowder and of bank-notes 1 Here 
in this tranquil spot, where the nightingales are to be heard 
earlier and later in the year than in any other part of England; 
where the first bursting of the buds is seen in spring, where no 
rigour of seasons can ever be felt; where everything seems 
formed for precluding the very thought of wickedness ; here has 
the devil fixed on as one of the seats of his grand manufactory; 
and perverse and ungrateful man not only lends him his aid, 
but lends it cheerfully ! As to the gunpowder, indeed, we might 
get over that. In some cases that may be innocently, and, 
when it sends the lead at the hordes that support a tyrant, 
meritoriously employed. The alders and the willows, therefore, 
one can see, without so much regret, turned into powder by the 
waters of this valley; but, the bank-notes I To think that the 
springs which God has commanded to flow from the sides of these 
happy hills, for the comfort and the delight of man; to think 
that these springs should be perverted into means of spreading 
misery over a whole nation; and that, too, under the base and 
hypocritical pretence of promoting its credit and maintaining 
its honour and its faith I There was one circumstance, indeed, 
that served to mitigate the melancholy excited by these re- 
flections; namely, that a part of these springs have, at times, 
assisted in turning rags into Registers 1 Somewhat cheered 
by the thought of this, but, still, in a more melancholy mood 

Hampshire, Surrey, and Sussex 1 5 1 

than T had been for a long while, I rode on with my friend 
towards Albury, up the valley, the sand-hills on one side of us 
and the chalk-hills on the other. Albury is a little village con- 
sisting of a few houses, with a large house or two near it. At the 
end of the village we came to a park, which is the residence of 
Mr. Drummond. Having heard a great deal of this park, 
and of the gardens, I wished very much to see them. My way 
to Dorking lay through Shire, and it went along on the outside 
of the park. I guessed, as the Yankees say, that there must be a 
way through the park to Shire; and I fell upon the scheme of 
going into the park as far as Mr. Drummond's house, and then 
asking his leave to go out at the other end of it. This scheme, 
though pretty barefaced, succeeded very well. It is true that 
I was aware that I had not a Norman to deal with ; or I should 
not have ventured upon the experiment. I sent in word that, 
having got into the park, I should be exceedingly obliged to Mr. 
Drummond if he would let me go out of it on the side next 
to Shire. He not only granted this request, but, in the most 
obliging manner, permitted us to ride all about the park, and to see 
his gardens, which, without any exception, are, to my fancy, the 
prettiest in England; that is to say, that I ever saw in England. 
They say that these gardens were laid out for one of the 
Howards, in the reign of Charles the Second, by Mr. Evelyn, 
who wrote the Sylva. The mansion-house, which is by no means 
magnificent, stands on a little flat by the side of the parish 
church, having a steep, but not lofty, hill rising up on the south 
side of it. It looks right across the gardens, which lie on the 
slope of a hill which runs along at about a quarter of a mile 
distant from the front of the house. The gardens, of course, 
lie facing the south. At the back of them, under the hill, is a 
high wall; and there is also a wall at each end, running from 
north to south. Between the house and the gardens there is a 
very beautiful run of water, with a sort of little wild narrow 
sedgy meadow. The gardens are separated from this by a 
hedge, running along from east to west. From this hedge there 
go up the hill, at right angles, several other hedges, which divide 
the land here into distinct gardens, or orchards. Along at the 
top of these there goes a yew hedge, or, rather, a row of small 
yew trees, the trunks of which are bare for about eight or ten 
feet high, and the tops of which form one solid head of about 
ten feet high, while the bottom branches come out on each side 
of the row about eight feet horizontally. This hedge, or row, 
is a quarter of a mile long. There is a nice hard sand-road under 

152 Rural Rides 

this species of umbrella; and, summer and winter, here is a most 
delightful walk! Behind this row of yews there is a space, or 
garden (a quarter of a mile long you will observe), about thirty 
or forty feet wide, as nearly as I can recollect. At the back of 
this garden, and facing the yew-tree row, is a wall probably ten 
feet high, which forms the breastwork of a terrace ; and it is this 
terrace which is the most beautiful thing that T ever saw in the 
gardening way. It is a quarter of a mile long, and, I believe, 
between thirty and forty feet wide; of the finest green sward, 
and as level as a die. 

The wall, along at the back of this terrace, stands close 
against the hill, which you see with the trees and underwood 
upon it rising above the wall. So that here is the finest spot 
for fruit trees that can possibly be imagined. At both ends of 
this garden the trees in the park are lofty, and there are a pretty 
many of them. The hills on the south side of the mansion- 
house are covered with lofty trees, chiefly beeches and chest- 
nut: so that a warmer, a more sheltered, spot than this, it 
seems to be impossible to imagine. Observe, too, how judicious 
it was to plant the row of yew trees at the distance which I 
have described from the wall which forms the breastwork of 
the terrace: that wall, as well as the wall at the back of the 
terrace, are covered with fruit trees, and the yew-tree row is 
just high enough to defend the former from winds, without 
injuring it by its shade. In the middle of the wall, at the back 
of the terrace, there is a recess, about thirty feet in front and 
twenty feet deep, and here is a basin, into which rises a spring 
coming out of the hill. The overflowings of this basin go under 
the terrace and down across the garden into the rivulet below. 
So that here is water at the top, across the middle, and along at 
the bottom of this garden. Take it altogether, this, certainly, 
is the prettiest garden that I ever beheld. There was taste and 
sound judgment at every step in the laying out of this place. 
Everywhere utility and convenience is combined with beauty. 
The terrace is by far the finest thing of the sort that I ever saw, 
and the whole thing altogether is a great compliment to the 
taste of the times in which it was formed. I know there are 
some ill-natured persons who will say that I want a revolution 
that would turn Mr. Drummond out of this place and put me 
into it. Such persons will hardly believe me, but upon my word 
I do not. From everything that I hear, Mr. Drummond is very 
worthy of possessing it himself, seeing that he is famed for his 
justice and his kindness towards the labouring classes, w r ho, God 

Hampshire, Surrey, and Sussex 153 

knows, have very few friends amongst the rich. If what I 
have heard be true, Mr. Drummond is singularly good in this 
way; for instead of hunting down an unfortunate creature who 
has exposed himself to the lash of the law; instead of regarding 
a crime committed as proof of an inherent disposition to commit 
crime; instead of rendering the poor creatures desperate by 
this species of proscription, and forcing them on to the gallows, 
merely because they have once merited the Bridewell ; instead 
of this, which is the common practice throughout the country, 
he rather seeks for such unfortunate creatures to take them 
into his employ, and thus to reclaim them, and to make them 
repent of their former courses. If this be true, and I am 
credibly informed that it is, I know of no man in England so 
worthy of his estate. There may be others, to act in like 
manner; but I neither know nor have heard of any other. I 
had, indeed, heard of this, at Alresford in Hampshire; and, to 
say the truth, it was this circumstance, and this alone, which 
induced me to ask the favour of Mr. Drummond to go through 
his park. But, besides that Mr. Drummond is very worthy of 
his estate, what chance should I have of getting it if it came to 
a scramble ? There are others who like pretty gardens, as well 
as I; and if the question were to be decided according to the 
law of the strongest, or, as the French call it, by the droit du 
plus fort, my chance would be but a very poor one. The truth 
is, that you hear nothing but fool's talk about revolutions made 
for the purpose of getting possession of people's property. They 
never have their spring in any such motives. They are caused 
by governments themselves ; and though they do sometimes cause 
a new distribution of property to a certain extent, there never 
was, perhaps, one single man in this world that had anything 
to do, worth speaking of, in the causing of a revolution, that 
did it with any such view. But what a strange thing it is, that 
there should be men at this time to fear the loss of estates as the 
consequence of a convulsive revolution; at this time, when the 
estates are actually passing away from the owners before their 
eyes, and that, too, in consequence of measures which have been 
adopted for what has been called the preservation of property, 
against the designs of Jacobins and Radicals ! Mr. Drummond 
has, I dare say, the means of preventing his estate from being 
actually taken away from him; but I am quite certain that 
that estate, except as a place to live at, is not worth to him, at 
this moment, one single farthing. What could a revolution do 
for him more than this? If one could suppose the power of 

154 Rural Rides 

doing what they like placed in the hands of the labouring classes; 
if one could suppose such a thing as this, which never was yet 
seen; if one could suppose anything so monstrous as that of 
a revolution that would leave no public authority anywhere; 
even in such a case, it is against nature to suppose that the 
people would come and turn him out of his house and leave 
him without food; and yet that they must do, to make him, 
as a landholder, worse off than he is; or, at least, worse off 
than he must be in a very short time. I saw, in the gardens at 
Albury Park, what I never saw before in all my life; that is, 
some plants of the American Cranberry. I never saw them in 
America; for there they grow in those swamps into which I 
never happened to go at the time of their bearing fruit. I may 
have seen the plant, but I do not know that I ever did. Here 
it not only grows, but bears; and there are still some cranberries 
on the plants now. I tasted them, and they appeared to me to 
have just the same taste as those in America. They grew in a 
long bed near the stream of water which I have spoken about, 
and therefore it is clear that they may be cultivated with great 
ease in this country. The road, through Shire along to Dorking, 
runs up the valley between the chalk-hills and the sand-hills; 
the chalk to our left and the sand to our right. This is called 
the Home Dale. It begins at Reigate and terminates at Shal- 
ford Common, down below Chilworth. 


December i* 

I set off this morning with an intention to go across the 
weald to Worth; but the red rising of the sun and the other 
appearances of the morning admonished me to keep upon high 
ground; so I crossed the mole, went along under Boxhill, 
through Betchworth and Buckland, and got to this place just 
at the beginning of a day of as heavy rain, and as boisterous 
wind, as I think I have ever known in England. In one rotten 
borough, one of the most rotten too, and with another still 
more rotten up upon the hill, in Reigate, and close by Gatton, 
how can I help reflecting, how can my mind be otherwise than 
filled with reflections on the marvellous deeds of the Collective 
Wisdom of the nation ! At present, however (for I want to get 
to bed), I will notice only one of those deeds, and that one yet 
' incohete" a word which Mr. Canning seems to have coined 
for the nonce (which is not a coined word), when Lord Castle- 
reagh (who cut his throat the other day) was accused of making 

Hampshire, Surrey, and Sussex 155 

a swap, as the horse- jockeys call it, of a writer-ship against a 
seat. It is barter, truck, change, dicker, as the Yankees call it, 
but as our horse-jockeys call it, swap, or chop. The case was 
this: the chop had been begun ; it had been entered on; but 
had not been completed; just as two jockeys may have agreed 
on a chop and yet not actually delivered the horses to one another. 
Therefore, Mr. Canning said that the act was incohete, which 
means without cohesion, without consequence. Whereupon 
the House entered on its Journals a solemn resolution, that it 
was its duty to watch over its purity with the greatest care ; but 
that the said act being " incohete," the House did not think it 
necessary to proceed any farther in the matter ! It unfortunately 
happened, however, that in a very few days afterwards, that 
is to say on the memorable eleventh of June 1809, Mr. Maddocks 
accused the very same Castlereagh of having actually sold and 
delivered a seat to Quintin Dick for three thousand pounds. 
The accuser said he w r as ready to bring to the bar proof of the 
fact; and he moved that he might be permitted so to do. Now 
then what did Mr. Canning say? Why, he said that the re- 
formers were a low degraded crew, and he called upon the House 
to make a stand against democratical encroachment ! And the 
House did not listen to him, surely? Yes, but it did! And it 
voted by a thundering majority, that it would not hear the 
evidence. And this vote was, by the leader of the Whigs, 
justified upon the ground that the deed complained of by Mr. 
Maddocks was according to a practice which was as notorious 
as the sun at noonday. So much for the word " incohete" 
which has led me into this long digression. The deed, or 
achievement, of which I am now about to speak, is not the 
Marriage Act; for that is cohete enough : that has had plenty of 
consequences. It is the New Turnpike Act, which though 
passed, is, as yet, " incohete; ' and is not to be cohete for 
some time yet to come. I hope it will become cohete during the 
time that Parliament is sitting, for otherwise it will have cohesion 
pretty nearly equal to that of the Marriage Act. In the first 
place this Act makes chalk and lime everywhere liable to turn- 
pike duty, which in many cases they were not before. This 
is a monstrous oppression upon the owners and occupiers of 
clay lands; and comes just at the time, too, when they are 
upon the point, many of them, of being driven out of cultivation, 
or thrown up to the parish, by other burdens. But it is the 
provision with regard to the wheels which will create the greatest 
injury, distress and confusion. The wheels which this law orders 

i 5 6 

Rural Rides 

to be used on turnpike-roads,, on pain of enormous toll, cannot 
be used on the cross-roads throughout more than nine-tenths of 
the kingdom. To make these roads and the drove-lanes (the 
private roads of farms) fit for the cylindrical wheels described 
in this Bill, would cost a pound an acre, upon an average, upon 
all the land in England, and especially in the counties where 
the land is poorest. It would, in those counties, cost a tenth 
part of the worth of the fee-simple of the land. And this is 
enacted, too, at a time when the wagons, the carts, and all the 
dead stock of a farm; when the whole is falling into a state of 
irrepair; when all is actually perishing for want of means in the 
farmer to keep it in repair! This is the time that the Lord 
Johns and the Lord Henries and the rest of that honourable 
body have thought proper to enact that the whole of the farmers 
in England shall have new wheels to their wagons and carts, 
or that they shall be punished by the payment of heavier tolls ! 
It is useless, perhaps, to say anything about the matter; but I 
could not help noticing a thing which has created such a general 
alarm amongst the farmers in every part of the country where 
I have recently been. 

December 2. 

I set off from Reigate this morning, and after a pleasant 
ride of ten miles, got here to breakfast. Here, as everywhere 
else, the farmers appear to think that their last hour is approach- 
ing. Mr. Charles B 's farms ; I believe it is Sir Charles 

B ; and I should be sorry to withhold from him his 

title, though, being said to be a very good sort of a man, he 
might, perhaps, be able to shift without it: this gentleman's 
farms are subject of conversation here. The matter is curious 
in itself, and very well worthy of attention, as illustrative of the 
present state of things. These farms were, last year, taken 
into hand by the owner. This was stated in the public papers 
about a twelvemonth ago. It was said that his tenants would 
not take the farms again at the rent which he wished to have, 
and that therefore he took the farms into hand. These farms 
lie somewhere down in the west of Sussex. In the month of 
August last I saw (and I think in one of the Brighton news- 
papers) a paragraph stating that Mr. B , who had taken his 

farms into hand the Michaelmas before, had already got in his 
harvest, and that he had had excellent crops ! This was a sort 
of bragging paragraph; and there was an observation added, 
which implied that the farmers were great fools for not having 

Hampshire, Surrey, and Sussex 157 

taken the farms! We now hear that Mr. B has let his 

farms. But, now, mark how he has let them. The custom in 
Sussex is this; when a tenant quits a farm, he receives payment, 
according to valuation, for what are called the dressings, the 
half-dressings, for seeds and lays, and for the growth of under- 
wood in coppices and hedgerows; for the dung in the yards; 
and, in short, for whatever he leaves behind him, which, if he 
had staid, would have been of value to him. The dressings and 
half-dressings include, not only the manure that has been 
recently put into the land, but also the summer ploughings; 
and, in short, everything which has been done to the land, and 
the benefit of which has not been taken out again by the farmer. 
This is a good custom; because it ensures good tillage to the 
land. It ensures, also, a fair start to the new tenant; but 
then, observe, it requires some money, which the new tenant 
must pay down before he can begin, and therefore this custom 
presumes a pretty deal of capital to be possessed by farmers. 
Bearing these general remarks in mind, we shall see, in a moment, 

the case of Mr. B . If my information be correct, he has 

let his farms: he has found tenants for his farms; but not 
tenants to pay him anything for dressings, half-dressings, and 
the rest. He was obliged to pay the out-going tenants for these 
things. Mind that ! He was obliged to pay them according to 
the custom of the country; but he has got nothing of this sort 
from his in-coming tenants! It must be a poor farm, indeed, 
where the valuation does not amount to some hundreds of 

pounds. So that here is a pretty sum sunk by Mr. B ; and 

yet even on conditions like these, he has, I dare say, been glad 
to get his farms off his hands. There can be very little security 
for the payment of rent where the tenant pays no in-coming; 

but even if he get no rent at all, Mr. B has done well to get 

his farms off his hands. Now, do I wish to insinuate that Mr. 

B asked too much for his farms last year, and that he 

wished to squeeze the last shilling out of his farmers? By no 
means. He bears the character of a mild, just, and very con- 
siderate man, by no means greedy, but the contrary. A man 
very much beloved by his tenants; or, at least, deserving it. 
But the truth is, he could not believe it possible that his farms 
were so much fallen in value. He could not believe it possible 
that his estate had been taken away from him by the leger- 
demain of the Pitt-system, which he had been supporting all 
his life: so that he thought, and very naturally thought, that 
his old tenants were endeavouring to impose upon him, and 


Rural Rides 

therefore resolved to take his farms into hand. Experience has 
shown him that farms yield no rent, in the hands of the land- 
lord at least; and therefore he has put them into the hands of 

other people. Mr. B , like Mr. Western, has not read the 

Register. If he had, he would have taken any trifle from his old 
tenants, rather than let them go. But he surely might have 
read the speech of his neighbour and friend Mr. Huskisson, 
made in the House of Commons in 1814, in which that gentle- 
man said that, with wheat at less than double the price that it 
bore before the war, it would be impossible for any rent at all 

to be paid. Mr. B might have read this; and he might, 

having so many opportunities, have asked Mr. Huskisson for 
an explanation of it. This gentleman is now a great advocate 

for national faith ; but may not Mr. B ask him whether 

there be no faith to be kept with the landlord? However, if I 

am not deceived, Mr. B or Sir Charles B (for I really 

do not know which it is) is a member of the Collective ! If this 
be the case he has had something to do with the thing himself; 
and he must muster up as much as he can of that " patience ' 
which is so strongly recommended by our great new state 
doctor, Mr. Canning. 

I cannot conclude my remarks on this Rural Ride without 
noticing the new sort of language that I hear everywhere made 
use of with regard to the parsons, but which language I do not 
care to repeat. These men may say that I keep company with 
none but those who utter " sedition and blasphemy; " and if 
they do say so, there is just as much veracity in their words as 
I believe there to be charity and sincerity in the hearts of the 
greater part of them. One thing is certain ; indeed, two things : 
the first is, that almost the whole of the persons that I have 
conversed with are farmers; and the second is, that they are 
in this respect all of one mind! It was my intention, at one 
time, to go along the south of Hampshire to Portsmouth, Fare- 
ham, Botley, Southampton, and across the New Forest into 
Dorsetshire. My affairs made me turn from Hambledon this 
way; but I had an opportunity of hearing something about the 
neighbourhood of Botley. Take any one considerable circle 
where you know everybody, and the condition of that circle 
will teach you how to judge pretty correctly of the condition of 
every other part of the country. I asked about the farmers of 
my old neighbourhood, one by one; and the answers I received 
only tended to confirm me in the opinion, that the whole race 
will be destroyed; and that a new race will come, and enter 

Hampshire, Surrey, and Sussex 159 

upon farms without capital and without stock; be a sort of 
bailiffs to the landlord for a while, and then, if this system go 
on, bailiffs to the government as trustees for the fundholders. 

If the account which I have received of Mr. B 's new mode 

of letting be true, here is one step further than has been before 
taken. In all probability the stock upon the farms belongs 
to him, to be paid for when the tenant can pay for it. Who 
does not see to what this tends? The man must be blind 
indeed who cannot see confiscation here; and can he be much 
less than blind, if he imagine that relief is to be obtained by 
the patience recommended by Mr. Canning? 

Thus, sir, have I led you about the country. All sorts of 
things have I talked of, to be sure; but there are very few of 
these things which have not their interest of one sort or another. 
At the end of a hundred miles or two of travelling, stopping 
here and there; talking freely with everybody. Hearing what 
gentlemen, farmers, tradesmen, journeymen, labourers, women, 
girls, boys, and all have to say; reasoning with some, laughing 
with others, and observing all that passes; and especially if 
your manner be such as to remove every kind of reserve from 
every class; at the end of a tramp like this, you get impressed 
upon your mind a true picture, not only of the state of the 
country, but of the state of the people's minds throughout the 
country. And, sir, whether you believe me or not, I have to 
tell you, that it is my decided opinion that the people, high and 
low, with one unanimous voice, except where they live upon the 
taxes, impute their calamities to the House of Commons. Whether 
they be right or wrong is not so much the question, in this case. 
That such is the fact I am certain ; and, having no power to make 
any change myself, I must leave the making or the refusing of 
the change to those who have the power. I repeat, and with 
perfect sincerity, that it would give me as much pain as it would 
give to any man in England, to see a change in the form of 
the government. With King, Lords, and Commons, this nation 
enjoyed many ages of happiness and of glory. Without Commons, 
my opinion is, it never can again see anything but misery and 
shame; and when I say Commons I mean Commons, and, by 
Commons, I mean men elected by the free voice of the untitled 
and unprivileged part of the people, who, in fact as well as in 
law, are the Commons of England. 

I am, sir, you most obedient and most humble servant, 




Monday, May 5, 1823. 

FROM London to Reigate, through Sutton, is about as 
villainous a tract as England contains. The soil is a mixture 
of gravel and clay, with big yellow stones in it, sure sign of 
really bad land. Before you descend the hill to go into Reigate, 
you pass Gallon (" Gatton and Old Sarum "), which is a very 
rascally spot of earth. The trees are here a week later than 
they are at Tooting. At Reigate they are (in order to save a 
few hundred yards length of road) cutting through a hill. 
They have lowered a little hill on the London side of Sutton. 
Thus is the money of the country actually thrown away: the 
produce of labour is taken from the industrious, and given to 
the idlers. Mark the process; the town of Brighton, in Sussex, 
50 miles from the Wen, is on the seaside, and is thought by the 
stock-jobbers to afford a salubrious air. It is so situated that 
a coach, which leaves it not very early in the morning, reaches 
London by noon; and, starting to go back in two hours and a 
half afterwards, reaches Brighton not very late at night. Great 
parcels of stock-jobbers stay at Brighton with the women and 
children. They skip backward and forward on the coaches, 
and actually carry on stock-jobbing, in 'Change Alley, though 
they reside at Brighton. This place is, besides, a place of great 
resort with the whiskered gentry. There are not less than about 
twenty coaches that leave the Wen every day for this place; and 
there being three or four different roads, there is a great rivalship 
for the custom. This sets the people to work to shorten and to 
level the roads; and here you see hundreds of men and horses con- 
stantly at work to make pleasant and quick travelling for the 
jews and jobbers. The jews and jobbers pay the turnpikes, 
to be sure; but they get the money from the land and labourer. 
They drain these, from John-a-Groat's House to the Land's End, 
and they lay out some of the money on the Brighton roads! 
" Vast improvements, ma'am ! ' as Mrs. Scrip said to Mrs. 
Omnium, in speaking of the new enclosures on the villainous 


Kensington to Worth 161 

heaths of Bagshot and Windsor. Now, some will say, " Well, 
it is only a change from hand to hand." Very true, and if Daddy 
Coke of Norfolk like the change, I know not why I should dislike 
it. More and more new houses are building as you leave the 
Wen to come on this road. Whence come the means of building 
these new houses and keeping the inhabitants? Do they come 
out of trade and commerce ? Oh, no ! they come from the land ; 
but if Daddy Coke like this, what has any one else to do with it? 
Daddy Coke and Lord Milton like " national faith; " it would 
be a pity to disappoint their liking. The best of this is, it will 
bring down to the very dirt ; it will bring down their faces to the 
very earth, and fill their mouths full of sand; it will thus pull 
down a set of the basest lick-spittles of power and the most 
intolerable tyrants towards their inferiors in wealth, that the sun 
ever shone on. It is time that these degenerate dogs were swept 
away at any rate. The blackthorns are in full bloom, and make 
a grand show. When you quit Reigate to go towards Crawley, 
you enter on what is called the Weald of Surrey. It is a level 
country, and the soil a very, very strong loam, with clay beneath 
to a great depth. The fields are small, and about a third of the 
land covered with oak-woods and coppice-woods. This is a 
country of wheat and beans; the latter of which are about three 
inches high, the former about seven, and both looking very well. 
I did not see a field of bad-looking wheat from Reigate Hill foot 
to Crawley, nor from Crawley across to this place, where, though 
the whole country is but poorish, the wheat looks very well; 
and if this weather hold about twelve davs, we shall recover 

^ ,/ 

the lost time. They have been stripping trees (taking the bark 
off) about five or six days. The nightingales sing very much, 
which is a sign of warm weather. The house-martins and the 
swallows are come in abundance; and they seldom do come 
until the weather be set in for mild. 

Wednesday, 7 May. 

The weather is very fine and warm; the leaves of the Oaks 
are coming out very fast: some of the trees are nearly in half- 
leaf. The Birches are out in leaf. I do not think that I ever 
saw the wheat look, take it all together, so well as it does at this 
time. I see, in the stiff land, no signs of worm or slug. The 
winter, which destroyed so many turnips, must, at any rate, 
have destroyed these mischievous things. The oats look well. 
The barley is very young; but I do not see anything amiss with 
regard to it. The land between this place and Reigate is stiff. 

1 62 Rural Rides 

How the corn may be, in other places, I know not; but, in 
coming down, I met with a farmer of Bedfordshire, who said that 
the wheat looked very well in that county; which is not a county 
of clay, like the Weald of Surrey. I saw a Southdown farmer, 
who told me that the wheat is good there, and that is a fine 
corn-country. The bloom of the fruit trees is the finest I ever 
saw in England. The pear-bloom is, at a distance, like that of 
the Gueldre Rose ; so large and bold are the bunches. The plum 
is equally fine; and even the blackthorn (which is the hedge- 
plum) has a bloom finer than I ever saw it have before. It is 
rather early to offer any opinion as to the crop of corn ; but if I 
were compelled to bet upon it, I would bet upon a good crop. 
Frosts frequently come after this time; and, if they come in May, 
they cause " things to come about " very fast. But if we have 
no more frosts : in short, if we have, after this, a good summer, 
we shall have a fine laugh at the Quakers' and the Jews' press. 
Fifteen days' sun will bring things about in reality. The wages 
of labour, in the country, have taken a rise, and the poor-rates an 
increase, since first of March. I am glad to hear that the Straw 
Bonnet affair has excited a good deal of attention. In answer to 
applications upon the subject, I have to observe, that all the 
information on the subject will be published in the first week 
of June. Specimens of the straw and plat will then be to be 
seen at No. 183, Fleet Street. 


Saturday, 26 July, 1823. 

CAME from the Wen, through Croydon. It rained nearly all 
the way. The corn is good. A great deal of straw. The 
barley very fine; but all are backward; and, if this weather con- 
tinue much longer, there must be that " heavenly blight " for 
which the wise friends of " social order " are so fervently praying. 
But if the wet now cease, or cease soon, what is to become of 
the " poor souls of farmers " God only knows ! In one article the 
wishes of our wise government appear to have been gratified to 
the utmost; and that, too, without the aid of any express form 
of prayer. I allude to the hops, of which, it is said, that there 
will be, according to all appearance, none at all! Bravo! 
Courage, my Lord Liverpool! This article, at any rate, will 
not choak us, will not distress us, will not make us miserable by 
" over-production! " The other day a gentleman (and a man 
of general good sense too) said to me: " What a deal of wet 
we have: what do you think of the weather now ? " " More 
ram," said I. " D n those farmers," said he, " what luck they 
have ! They will be as rich as Jews ! " Incredible as this may 
seem, it is a fact. But, indeed, there is no folly, if it relate to 
these matters, which is, nowadays, incredible. The hop affair 
is a pretty good illustration of the doctrine of " relief " from 
" diminished production." Mr. Ricardo may now call upon 
any of the hop-planters for proof of the correctness of his 
notions. They are ruined, for the greater part, if their all be 
embarked in hops. How are they to pay rent ? I saw a planter, 
the other day, who sold his hops (Kentish) last fall for sixty 
shillings a hundred. The same hops will now fetch the owner 
of them eight pounds, or a hundred and sixty shillings. 

Thus the Quaker gets rich, and the poor devil of a farmer 
is squeezed into a gaol. The Quakers carry on the far greater 
part of this work. They are, as to the products of the earth, 
what the Jews are as to gold and silver. How they profit, or, 


164 Rural Rides 

rather, the degree in which they profit, at the expense of those 
who own and those who till the land, may be guessed at if we 
look at their immense worth, and if we, at the same time, reflect 
that they never work. Here is a sect of non-labourers. One 
would think that their religion bound them under a curse 
not to work. Some part of the people of all other sects work; 
sweat at work; do something that is useful to other people; 
but here is a sect of buyers and sellers. They make nothing; 
they cause nothing to come; they breed as well as other 
sects; but they make none of the raiment or houses, and cause 
none of the food to come. In order to justify some measure for 
paring the nails of this grasping sect, it is enough to say of 
them, which we may with perfect truth, that, if all the other 
sects were to act like them, the community must perish. This is 
quite enough to say of this sect, of the monstrous privileges of 
whom we shall, I hope, one of these days, see an end. If I had 
the dealing with them, I would soon teach them to use the spade 
and the plough, and the musket too when necessary. 

The rye, along the roadside, is ripe enough; and some of it is 
reaped and in shock. At Mearstam there is a field of cabbages, 
which, I was told, belonged to Colonel Joliffe. They appear 
to be early Yorks, and look very well. The rows seem to be 
about eighteen inches apart. There may be from 15,000 to 
20,000 plants to the acre; and I dare say that they will weigh 
three pounds each, or more. I know of no crop of cattle food 
equal to this. If they be early Yorks, they will be in perfection 
in October, just when the grass is almost gone. No five acres 
of common grass land will, during the year, yield cattle food 
equal, either in quantity or quality, to what one acre of land, 
in early Yorks, will produce during three months. 

Wednesday, 30 July. 

Worth is ten miles from Reigate on the Brighton road, which 
goes through Horley. Reigate has the Surrey chalk hills close 
to it on the north, and sand hills along on its south, and nearly 
close to it also. As soon as you are over the sand hills, you 
come into a country of deep clay; and this is called the Weald 
of Surrey. This Weald winds away round, towards the west 
into Sussex, and towards the east into Kent. In this part of 
Surrey, it is about eight miles wide, from north to south, and 
ends just as you enter the parish of Worth, which is the first 

Surrey, Sussex, and Hampshire 165 

parish (in this part) in the county of Sussex. All across the 
Weald (the strong and stiff clays) the corn looks very well. I 
found it looking well from the Wen to Reigate, on the villainous 
spewy soil between the Wen and Croydon; on the chalk from 
Croydon to near Reigate; on the loam, sand and chalk (for there 
are all three) in the valley of Reigate; but not quite so well 
on the sand. On the clay all the corn looks well. The wheat, 
where it has begun to die, is dying of a good colour, not black, 
nor in any way that indicates blight. It is, however, all back- 
ward. Some few fields of white wheat are changing colour; 
but for the greater part it is quite green ; and though a sudden 
change of weather might make a great alteration in a short time, 
it does appear that the harvest must be later than usual. When 
I say this, however, I by no means wish to be understood as 
saying, that it must be so late as to be injurious to the crop. 
In 1816, I saw a barleyrick making in November. In 1821, I 
saw wheat uncut, in Suffolk, in October. If we were now to 
have good, bright, hot weather, for as long a time as we have had 
wet, the whole of the corn, in these southern counties, would be 
housed, and great part of it threshed out, by the loth of Sep- 
tember. So that all depends on the weather, which appears 
to be clearing up in spite of Saint Swithin. This saint's birthday 
is the 1 5th of July; and it is said that, if rain fall on his birth- 
day, it will fall on forty days successively. But, I believe, that 
you reckon retrospectively as well as prospectively; and if this 
be the case, we may, this time, escape the extreme unction; 
for it began to rain on the 26th of June; so that it rained 19 
days before the i5th of July; and as it has rained 16 days 
since, it has rained, in the whole, 35 days, and, of course, five 
days more will satisfy this wet soul of a saint. Let him take 
his five days; and there will be plenty of time for us to have 
wheat at four shillings a bushel. But if the saint will give us 
no credit for the 19 days, and will insist upon his forty daily 
drenchings after the fifteenth of July; if he will have such a 
soaking as this at the celebration of the anniversary of his birth, 
let us hope that he is prepared with a miracle for feeding us, and 
with a still more potent miracle for keeping the farmers from 
riding over us, filled, as Lord Liverpool thinks their pockets 
will be, by the annihilation of their crops ! 

The upland meadow grass is, a great deal of it, not cut yet, 
along the Weald. So that, in these parts, there has not been 
a great deal of hay spoiled. The clover hay was got in very 
well : and only a small part of the meadow hay has been spoiled 

1 66 Rural Rides 

in this part of the country. This is not the case, however, in 
other parts, where the grass was forwarder, and where it was 
cut before the rain came. Upon the whole, however, much 
hay does not appear to have been spoiled as yet. The farmers 
along here, have, most of them, begun to cut to-day. This 
has been a fine day; and it is clear that they expect it to 
continue. I saw but two pieces of Swedish turnips between 
the Wen and Reigate, but one at Reigate, and but one between 
Reigate and Worth. During a like distance, in Norfolk or 
Suffolk, you would see two or three hundred fields of this sort 
of root. Those that I do see here, look well. The white turnips 
are just up, or just sown, though there are some which have 
rough leaves already. This Weald is, indeed, not much of land 
for turnips ! but from what I see here, and from what I know 
of the weather, I think that the turnips must be generally good. 
The after-grass is surprisingly fine. The lands, which have had 
hay cut and carried from them, are, I think, more beautiful 
than I ever saw them before. It should, however, always be 
borne in mind, that this beautiful grass is by no means the best. 
An acre of this grass will not make a quarter part so much 
butter as an acre of rusty-looking pasture, made rusty by the 
rays of the sun. Sheep on the commons die of the beautiful 
grass produced by long-continued rains at this time of the year. 
Even geese, hardy as they are, die from the same cause. The 
rain will give quantity, but without sun the quality must be 
poor at the best. The woods have not shot much this year. 
The cold winds, the frosts, that we had up to midsummer, 
prevented the trees from growing much. They are beginning to 
shoot now; but the wood must be imperfectly ripened. 

I met, at Worth, a beggar who told me, in consequence of my 
asking where he belonged, that he was born in South Carolina. 
I found, at last, that he was born in the English army, during 
the American rebel- war; that he became a soldier himself; and 
that it had been his fate to serve under the Duke of York, in 
Holland; under General Whitelock, at Buenos Ayres; under 
Sir John Moore, at Corunna; and under " the Greatest Captain," 
at Talavera ! This poor fellow did not seem to be at all aware 
that, in the last case, he partook in a victory I He had never 
before heard of its being a victory. He, poor fool, thought that 
it was a defeat. " Why," said he, " we ran away, sir." Oh, 
yes! said I, and so you did afterwards, perhaps, in Portugal, 
when Massena was at your heels; but it is only in certain cases 
that running away is a mark of being defeated; or, rather, it is 

Surrey, Sussex, and Hampshire 167 

only with certain commanders. A matter of much more interest 
to us, however, is, that the wars for " social order," not for- 
getting Gatton and Old Sarum, have filled the country with 
beggars, who have been, or who pretend to have been, soldiers 
and sailors. For want of looking well into this matter, many 
good and just, and even sensible men are led to give to these 
army and navy beggars what they refuse to others. But if 
reason were consulted, she would ask what pretensions these 
have to a preference? She would see in them men who had 
become soliders or sailors because they wished to live without 
that labour by which other men are content to get their bread. 
She would ask the soldier beggar whether he did not volun- 
tarily engage to perform services such as were performed at 
Manchester; and if she pressed him for the motive to this 
engagement, could he assign any motive other than that of 
wishing to live without work upon the fruit of the work of 
other men ? And why should reason not be listened to ? Why 
should she not be consulted in every such case? And, if she 
were consulted, which would she tell you was the most worthy 
of your compassion, the man, who, no matter from what cause, 
is become a beggar after forty years spent in the raising of food 
and raiment for others as well as for himself; or the man who, 
no matter again from what cause, is become a beggar after forty 
years living upon the labour of others, and, during the greater 
part of which time, he has been living in a barrack, there kept 
for purposes explained by Lord Palmerston, and always in 
readiness to answer those purposes ? As to not giving to beggars, 
I think there is a law against giving ! However, give to them 
people will, as long as they ask. Remove the cause of the 
beggary and we shall see no more beggars; but as long as 
there are boroughmongers, there will be beggars enough. 


Thursday } 31 July. 

I left Worth this afternoon about 5 o'clock, and am got here 
to sleep, intending to set off for Petworth in the morning, with 
a view of crossing the South Downs and then going into Hamp- 
shire through Havant, and along at the southern foot of Ports- 
down Hill, where I shall see the earliest corn in England. From 
Worth you come to Crawley along some pretty good land ; you 
then turn to the left and go two miles along the road from the 
Wen to Brighton; then you turn to the right, and go over 

i 68 Rural Rides 

six of the worst miles in England, which miles terminate but a 
few hundred yards before you enter Horsham. The first two 
of these miserable miles go through the estate of Lord Erskine. 
It was a bare heath with here and there, in the better parts of it, 
some scrubby birch. It has been, in part, planted with fir-trees, 
which are as ugly as the heath was: and, in short, it is a most 
villainous tract. After quitting it, you enter a forest; but a 
most miserable one; and this is followed by a large common, 
now enclosed, cut up, disfigured, spoiled, and the labourers all 
driven from its skirts. I have seldom travelled over eight 
miles so well calculated to fill the mind with painful reflections. 
The ride has, however, this in it: that the ground is pretty much 
elevated, and enables you to look about you. You see the 
Surrey hills away to the north; Hindhead and Blackdown to 
the north-west and west; and the South Downs from the west 
to the east. The sun was shining upon all these, though it was 
cloudy where I was. The soil is a poor, miserable, clayey- 
looking sand, with a sort of sandstone underneath. When you 
get down into this town, you are again in the Weald of Sussex. 
I believe that Weald meant day, or low, wet, stiff land. This 
is a very nice, solid, country town. Very clean, as all the towns 
in Sussex are. The people very clean. The Sussex women 
are very nice in their dress and in their houses. The men and 
boys wear smock-frocks more than they do in some counties. 
When country people do not they always look dirty and comfort- 
less. This has been a pretty good day; but there was a little rain 
in the afternoon; so that St. Swithin keeps on as yet, at any rate. 
The hay has been spoiled here, in cases where it has been cut; 
but a great deal of it is not yet cut. I speak of the meadows; 
for the clover-hay was all well got in. The grass, which is not 
cut, is receiving great injury. It is, in fact, in many cases, 
rotting upon the ground. As to corn, from Crawley to Horsham, 
there is none worth speaking of. What there is is very good, 
in general, considering the quality of the soil. It is about as 
backward as at Worth: the barley and oats green, and the 
wheat beginning to change colour. 


Friday Morning, i Aug. 

This village is 7 miles from Horsham, and I got here to break- 
fast about seven o'clock. A very pretty village, and a very nice 
breakfast, in a very neat little parlour of a very decent public- 

Surrey, Sussex, and Hampshire 169 

house. The landlady sent her son to get me some cream, and 
he was just such a chap as I was at his age, and dressed just 
in the same sort of way, his main garment being a blue smock- 
frock, faded from wear, and mended with pieces of new stuff, 
and, of course, not faded. The sight of this smock-frock 
brought to my recollection many things very dear to me. This 
boy will, I dare say, perform his part at Billingshurst, or at some 
place not far from it. If accident had not taken me from a 
similar scene, how many villains and fools, who have been well 
teased and tormented, would have slept in peace at night, and 
have fearlessly swaggered about by day! When I look at this 
little chap; at his smock-frock, his nailed shoes, and his clean, 
plain, and coarse shirt, I ask myself, will anything, I wonder, 
ever send this chap across the ocean to tackle the base, corrupt, 
perjured Republican judges of Pennsylvania? Will this little 
lively, but, at the same time, simple boy, ever become the 
terror of villains and hypocrites across the Atlantic? What a 
chain of strange circumstances there must be to lead this boy to 
thwart a miscreant tyrant like Mackeen, the chief justice and 
afterwards governor of Pennsylvania, and to expose the cor- 
ruptions of the band of rascals, called a " Senate and a House 
of Representatives," at Harrisburgh, in that state! 

I was afraid of rain, and got on as fast as I could : that is to 
say, as fast as my own diligence could help me on; for as to 
my horse, he is to go only so fast. However, I had no rain; and 
got to Petworth, nine miles further, by about ten o'clock. 

Friday Evening, i Aug. 

No rain, until just at sunset, and then very little. I must 
now look back. From Horsham to within a few miles of 
Petworth is in the Weald of Sussex; stiff land, small fields, 
broad hedgerows, and, invariably, thickly planted with fine, 
growing oak trees. The corn here consists chiefly of wheat 
and oats. There are some bean-fields, and some few fields of 
peas; but very little barley along here. The corn is very good 
all along the Weald; backward; the wheat almost green; the 
oats quite green; but, late as it is, I see no blight; and the 
farmers tell me that there is no blight. There may be yet, 
however; and, therefore, our government, our " paternal 
government," so anxious to prevent " over production," need 
not despair, as yet, at any rate. The beans in the Weald are 

170 Rural Rides 

not very good. They got lousy before the wet came; and it 
came rather too late to make them recover what they had lost. 
What peas there are look well. Along here the wheat, in general, 
may be fit to cut in about 1 6 days' time; some sooner; but some 
later, for some is perfectly green. No Swedish turnips all 
along this country. The white turnips are just up, coming up, 
or just sown. The farmers are laying out lime upon the wheat 
fallows, and this is the universal practice of the country. I see 
very few sheep. There are a good many orchards along in the 
Weald, and they have some apples this year; but, in general, 
not many. The apple trees are planted very thickly, and, of 
course, they are small; but they appear healthy in general; 
and, in some places, there is a good deal of fruit, even this year. 
As you approach Petworth, the ground rises and the soil grows 
lighter. There is a hill which I came over, about two miles 
from Petworth, whence I had a clear view of the Surrey chalk- 
hills, Leith Hill, Hindhead, Blackdown, and of the South Downs, 
towards one part of which I was advancing. The pigs along 
here are all black, thin-haired, and of precisely the same sort 
of those that I took from England to Long Island, and with 
which I pretty well stocked the American States. By the by, 
the trip which Old Sidmouth and crew gave me to America 
was attended with some interesting consequences; amongst 
which were the introducing of the Sussex pigs into the American 
farm-yards; the introduction of the Swedish turnip into the 
American fields; the introduction of American apple-trees into 
England; and the introduction of the making, in England, of 
the straw plat, to supplant the Italian; for had my son not been 
in America, this last would not have taken place; and in 
America he would not have been, had it not been for Old Sid- 
mouth and crew. One thing more, and that is of more import- 
ance than all the rest, Peel's Bill arose out of the " puff-out ' 
Registers; these arose out of the trip to Long Island; and out 
of Peel's Bill has arisen the best bothering that the wigs of the 
boroughmongers ever received, which bothering will end in the 
destruction of the boroughmongering. It is curious, and very 
useful, thus to trace events to their causes. 

Soon after quitting Billingshurst I crossed the river Arun, 
which has a canal running alongside of it. At this there are 
large timber and coal yards, and kilns for lime. This appears 
to be a grand receiving and distributing place. The river goes 
down to Arundale, and, together with the valley that it runs 
through, gives the town its name. This valley, which is very 

Surrey, Sussex, and Hampshire 171 

pretty, and which winds about a good deal, is the dale of the 
Arun: and the town is the town of the Arun-dale. To-day, 
near a place called Westborough Green, I saw a woman bleaching 
her home-spun and home-woven linen. I have not seen such 
a thing before, since I left Long Island. There, and, indeed, 
all over the American States, north of Maryland, and especially 
in the New England States, almost the whole of both linen and 
woollen, used in the country, and a large part of that used in 
towns, is made in the farm-houses. There are thousands and 
thousands of families who never use either, except of their own 
making. All but the weaving is done by the family. There 
is a loom in the house, and the weaver goes from house to house. 
I once saw about three thousand farmers, or rather country 
people, at a horse race in Long Island, and my opinion was, 
that there were not five hundred who were not dressed in home- 
spun coats. As to linen, no farmer's family thinks of buying 
linen. The lords of the loom have taken from the land, in 
England, this part of its due; and hence one cause of the 
poverty, misery, and pauperism that are becoming so frightful 
throughout the country. A national debt, and all the taxation 
and gambling belonging to it, have a natural tendency to draw 
wealth into great masses. These masses produce a power of 
congregating manufactures, and of making the many work at 
them, for the gain of a few. The taxing government finds great 
convenience in these congregations. It can lay its hand easily 
upon a part of the produce; as ours does with so much effect. 
But the land suffers greatly from this, and the country must 
finally feel the fatal effects of it. The country people lose part 
of their natural employment. The women and children, who 
ought to provide a great part of the raiment, have nothing to 
do. The fields must have men and boys; but where there are 
men and boys there will be women and girls ; and as the lords 
of the loom have now a set of real slaves, by the means of whom 
they take away a great part of the employment of the country- 
women and girls, these must be kept by poor rates in whatever 
degree they lose employment through the lords of the loom. 
One would think that nothing can be much plainer than this; 
and yet you hear the jolterheads congratulating one another 
upon the increase of Manchester, and such places ! My straw 
affair will certainly restore to the land some of the employment 
of its women and girls. It will be impossible for any of the 
" rich ruffians; " any of the horse-power or steam-power or air- 
power ruffians; any of these greedy, grinding ruffians, to draw 

172 Rural Rides 

together bands of men, women and children, and to make them 
slaves, in the working of straw. The raw material comes of 
itself, and the hand, and the hand alone, can convert it to use. 
I thought well of this before I took one single step in the way 
of supplanting the Leghorn bonnets. If I had not been certain 
that no rich ruffian, no white slave holder, could ever arise out 
of it, assuredly one line upon the subject never would have been 
written by me. Better, a million times, that the money should 
go to Italy; better that it should go to enrich even the rivals 
and enemies of the country; than that it should enable these 
hard, these unfeeling men, to draw English people into crowds 
and make them slaves, and slaves too of the lowest and most 
degraded cast. 

As I was coming into this town I saw a new-fashioned sort of 
stone-cracking. A man had a sledge-hammer, and was cracking 
the heads of the big stones that had been laid on the road a good 
while ago. This is a very good way; but this man told me 
that he was set at this, because the farmers had no employment 
for many of the men. " Well/' said I, " but they pay you to 
do this! ' " Yes," said he. " Well, then," said I, " 'is it not 
better for them to pay you for working on their land ? ' "I 
can't tell, indeed, sir, how that is." But only think; here is 
half the haymaking to do: I saw, while I was talking to this 
man, fifty people in one hay-field of Lord Egremont, making 
and carrying hay; and yet, at a season like this, the farmers are 
so poor as to be unable to pay the labourers to work on the land ! 
From this cause there will certainly be some falling off in produc- 
tion. This will, of course, have a tendency to keep prices from 
falling so low as they would do if there were no falling off. But 
can this benefit the farmer and landlord? The poverty of the 
farmers is seen in their diminished stock. The animals are sold 
younger than formerly. Last year was a year of great slaughter- 
ing. There will be less of everything produced ; and the quality 
of each thing will be worse. It will be a lower and more mean 
concern altogether. Petworth is a nice market town, but solid 
and clean. The great abundance of stone in the land hereabouts 
has caused a corresponding liberality in paving and wall-building. 
so that everything of the building kind has an air of great 
strength, and produces the agreeable idea of durability. Lord 
Egremont's house is close to the town, and with its out-buildings, 
garden walls, and other erections, is, perhaps, nearly as big as 
the town; though the town is not a very small one. The park 
is very fine, and consists of a parcel of those hills and dells which 

Surrey, Sussex, and Hampshire 173 

Nature formed here when she was in one of her most sportive 
modes. I have never seen the earth flung about in such a wild 
way as round about Hindhead and Blackdown; and this park 
forms a part of this ground. From an elevated part of it, and 
indeed, from each of many parts of it, you see all around the 
country to the distance of many miles. From the south-east 
to the north-west, the hills are so lofty and so near, that they 
cut the view rather short; but for the rest of the circle, you can 
see to a very great distance. It is, upon the whole, a most 
magnificent seat, and the Jews will not be able to get it from the 
present owner; though, if he live many years, they will give even 
him a twist. If I had time, I would make an actual survey of one 
whole county, and find out how many of the old gentry have 
lost their estates, and have been supplanted by the Jews, since 
Pitt began his reign. I am sure I should prove that, in number, 
they are one-half extinguished. But it is now that they go. 
The little ones are, indeed, gone; and the rest will follow in 
proportion as the present fanners are exhausted. These will 
keep on giving rents as long as they can beg or borrow the money 
to pay rents with. But a little more time will so completely 
exhaust them, that they will be unable to pay; and as that 
takes place, the landlords will lose their estates. Indeed many 
of them, and even a large portion of them, have, in fact, no 
estates now. They are called theirs; but the mortgagees and 
annuitants receive the rents. As the rents fall off, sales must 
take place, unless in cases of entails; and if this thing go on, 
we shall see acts passed to cut off entails, in order that the Jews 
may be put into full possession. Such, thus far, will be the 
result of our " glorious victories " over the French ! Such will 
be, in part, the price of the deeds of Pitt, Addington, Perceval 
and their successors. For having applauded such deeds; for 
having boasted of the Wellesleys ; for having bragged of battles 
won by money and by money only, the nation deserves that which 
it will receive; and as to the landlords, they, above all men 
living, deserve punishment. They put the power into the hands 
of Pitt and his crew to torment the people ; to keep the people 
down; to raise soldiers and to build barracks for this purpose. 
These base landlords laughed when affairs like that of Man- 
chester took place. They laughed at the Blanketteers. They 
laughed when Canning jested about Ogden's rupture. Let them, 
therefore, now take the full benefit of the measures of Pitt and 
his crew. They would fain have us believe that the calamities 
they endure do not arise from the acts of the government. 

174 Rural Rides 

What do they arise from, then? The Jacobins did not contract 
the Debt of 800,000,000 sterling. The Jacobins did not create 
a dead weight of 150,000,000. The Jacobins did not cause a 
pauper-charge of 200,000,000 by means of " new inclosure 
bills," " vast improvements," paper-money, potatoes, and other 
" proofs of prosperity." The Jacobins did not do these things. 
And will the government pretend that " Providence " did it? 
That would be "blasphemy' indeed. Poh! These things 
are the price of efforts to crush freedom in France, lest the 
example of France should produce a reform in England. These 
things are the price of that undertaking; which, however, has 
not yet been crowned with success ; for the question is not yet 
decided. They boast of their victory over the French. The 
Pitt crew boast of their achievements in the war. They boast 
of the battle of Waterloo. Why! what fools could not get 
the same, or the like, if they had as much money to get it with ? 
Shooting with a silver gun is a saying amongst game-eaters. 
That is to say, purchasing the game. A waddling, fat. fellow 
that does not know how to prime and load, will, in this way, 
beat the best shot in the country. And this is the way that 
our crew " beat " the people of France. They laid out, in the 
first place, six hundred millions which they borrowed, and for 
which they mortgaged the revenues of the nation. Then they 
contracted for a " dead weight " to the amount of one hundred 
and fifty millions. Then they stripped the labouring classes of 
the commons, of their kettles, their bedding, their beer-barrels; 
and, in short, made them all paupers, and thus fixed on the 
nation a permanent annual charge of about 8 or 9 millions, or, 
a gross debt of 200,000,000. By these means, by these anticipa- 
tions, our crew did what they thought would keep down the 
French nation for ages; and what they were sure would, for the 
present, enable them to keep up the tithes and other things of 
the same sort in England. But the crew did not reflect on the 
consequences of the anticipations! Or at least the landlords, 
who gave the crew their power, did not thus reflect. These 
consequences are now come, and are coming; and that must be 
a base man indeed, who does not see them with pleasure. 

Saturday, 2 Aug. 

Ever since the middle of March, I have been trying remedies 
for the hooping-cough, and have, I believe, tried everything, 

Surrey, Sussex, and Hampshire 175 

except riding, wet to the skin, two or three hours amongst the 
clouds on the South Downs. This remedy is now under trial. 
As Lord Liverpool said, the other day, of the Irish Tithe Bill, 
it is " under experiment." I am treating my disorder (with 
better success I hope) in somewhat the same way that the pretty 
fellows at Whitehall treat the disorders of poor Ireland. There 
is one thing in favour of this remedy of mine, I shall know the 
effect of it, and that, too, in a short time. It rained a little last 
night. I got off from Petworth without baiting my horse, 
thinking that the weather looked suspicious, and that St. 
Swithin meant to treat me to a dose. I had no greatcoat, nor 
any means of changing my clothes. The hooping-cough made 
me anxious; but I had fixed on going along the South Downs 
from Donnington-hill down to Lavant, and then to go on the 
flat to the south foot of Portsdown-hill, and to reach Fareham 
to-night. Two men, whom I met soon after I set off, assured 
me that it would not rain. I came on to Donnington, which 
lies at the foot of that part of the South Downs which I had to 
go up. Before I came to this point, I crossed the Arun and its 
canal again; and here was another place of deposit for timber, 
lime, coals, and other things. White, in his history of Selborne, 
mentions a hill, which is one of the Hindhead group, from 
which two springs (one on each side of the hill) send water into 
the two seas : the Atlantic and the German Ocean I This is big 
talk; but it is a fact. One of the streams becomes the Arun, 
which falls into the Channel; and the other, after winding along 
amongst the hills and hillocks between Hindhead and Godalming, 
goes into the river Wey } which falls into the Thames at Wey- 
bridge. The soil upon leaving Petworth, and at Petworth. 
seems very good; a fine deep loam, a sort of mixture of sand and 
soft chalk. I then came to a sandy common; a piece of ground 
that seemed to have no business there; it looked as if it had 
been tossed from Hindhead or Blackdown. The common, how- 
ever, during the rage for " improvements," has been inclosed. 
That impudent fellow, Old Rose, stated the number of Inclosure 
Bills as an indubitable proof of " national prosperity." There 
was some rye upon this common, the sight of which would have 
gladdened the heart of Lord Liverpool. It was, in parts, not 
more than eight inches high. It was ripe, and, of course, the 
straw dead; or I should have found out the owner, and have 
bought it to make bonnets of ! I defy the Italians to grow worse 
rye than this. The reader will recollect that I always said that 
we could grow as poor corn as any Italians that ever lived. 


Rural Rides 

The village of Donton lies at the foot of one of these great chalk 
ridges, which are called the South Downs. The ridge, in this 
place, is, I think, about three-fourths of a mile high, by the high 
road, which is obliged to go twisting about, in order to get to 
the top of it. The hill sweeps round from about west-north-west 
to east-south-east; and, of course, it keeps off all the heavy winds, 
and especially the south-west winds, before which, in this part 
of England (and all the south and western part of it), even 
the oak trees seem as if they would gladly flee: from it shaves 
them up as completely as you see a quickset hedge shaved by 
hook or shears. Talking of hedges reminds me of having seen 
a box-hedge, just as I came out of Petworth, more than twelve 
feet broad, and about fifteen feet high. I dare say it is several 
centuries old. I think it is about forty yards long. It is a great 

The apple trees at Donnington show their gratitude to the 
hill for its shelter; for I have seldom seen apple trees in England 
so large, so fine, and, in general, so flourishing. I should like 
to have, or to see, an orchard of American apples under this 
hill. The hill, you will observe, does not shade the ground at 
Donnington. It slopes too much for that. But it affords 
complete shelter from the mischievous winds. It is very pretty 
to look down upon this little village as you come winding up 
the hill. 

From this hill I ought to have had a most extensive view. I 
ought to have seen the Isle of Wight and the sea before me; 
and to have looked back to Chalk Hill at Reigate, at the foot 
of which I had left some bonnet-grass bleaching. But, alas! 
Saint Swithin had begun his works for the day, before I got to 
the top of the hill. Soon after the two turnip-hoers had assured 
me that there would be no rain, I saw, beginning to poke up 
over the South Downs (then right before me), several parcels 
of those white, curled clouds, that we call Judges' Wigs. 
And they are just like judges' wigs. Not the parson-like things 
which the judges wear when they have to listen to the dull 
wrangling and duller jests of the lawyers; but those big wigs 
which hang down about their shoulders, when they are about 
to tell you a little of their intentions, and when their very looks 
say, " Stand dear I ' These clouds (if rising from the south- 
west) hold precisely the same language to the great-coatless 
traveller. Rain is sure to follow them. The sun was shining 
very beautifully when I first saw these judges' wigs rising over 
the hills. At the sight of them he soon began to hide his face! 

Surrey, Sussex, and Hampshire 177 

and before I got to the top of the hill of Don ton, the white clouds 
had become black, had spread themselves all around, and a 
pretty decent and sturdy rain began to fall. I had resolved to 
come to this place (Singleton) to breakfast. I quitted the turn- 
pike road (from Petworth to Chichester) at a village called Up- 
waltham, about a mile from Donnington Hill; and came down 
a lane, which led me first to a village called Eastdean; then to 
another called Westdean, I suppose; and then to this village of 
Singleton, and here I am on the turnpike road from Midhurst 
to Chichester. The lane goes along through some of the finest 
farms in the world. It is impossible for corn land and for 
agriculture to be finer than these. In cases like mine, you are 
pestered to death to find out the way to set out to get from place 
to place. The people you have to deal with are innkeepers, 
ostlers, and post-boys; and they think you mad if you express 
your wish to avoid turnpike roads; and a great deal more than 
half mad, if you talk of going, even from necessity, by any 
other road. They think you a strange fellow if you will not 
ride six miles on a turnpike road rather than two on any other 
road. This plague I experienced on this occasion. I wanted 
to go from Petworth to Havant. My way was through Single- 
ton and Funtington. I had no business at Chichester, which 
took me too far to the south. Nor at Midhurst, which took 
me too far to the west. But though I staid all day (after my 
arrival) at Petworth, and though I slept there, I could get no 
directions how to set out to come to Singleton, where I am now. 
I started, therefore, on the Chichester road, trusting to my 
inquiries of the country people as I came on. By these means 
I got hither, down a long valley, on the South Downs, which 
valley winds and twists about amongst hills, some higher and 
some lower, forming cross dells, inlets, and ground in such a 
variety of shapes that it is impossible to describe; and the whole 
of the ground, hill as well as dell, is fine, most beautiful, corn 
land, or is covered with trees or underwood. As to St. Swithin, 
I set him at defiance. The road was flinty, and very flinty. I 
rode a foot pace, and got here wet to the skin. I am very 
glad I came this road. The corn is all fine; all good; fine crops, 
and no appearance of blight. The barley extremely fine. The 
corn not forwarder than in the Weald. No beans here; few 
oats comparatively; chiefly wheat and barley; but great 
quantities of Swedish turnips, and those very forward. More 
Swedish turnips here upon one single farm than upon all the 
farms that I saw between the Wen and Petworth. These 

G 6 3 8 

178 Rural Rides 

turnips are, in some places, a foot high, and nearly cover the 
ground. The farmers are, however, plagued by this St. Swithin, 
who keeps up a continual drip, which prevents the thriving of 
the turnips and the killing of the weeds. The orchards are good 
here in general. Fine walnut trees, and an abundant crop of 
walnuts. This is a series of villages all belonging to the Duke 
of Richmond, the outskirts of whose park and woods come up 
to these farming lands, all of which belong to him; and I suppose 
that every inch of land that I came through this morning belongs 
either to the Duke of Richmond or to Lord Egremont. No 
harm in that, mind, if those who till the land have fair play ; 
and I should act unjustly towards these noblemen, if I insinuated 
that the husbandmen have not fair play, as far as the landlords 
are concerned; for everybody speaks well of them. There is, 
besides, no misery to be seen here. I have seen no wretchedness 
in Sussex; nothing to be at all compared to that which I 
have seen in other parts; and as to these villages in the South 
Downs, they are beautiful to behold. Hume and other historians 
rail against the feudal-system ; and we, " enlightened ' and 
" free " creatures as we are, look back with scorn, or, at least, 
with surprise and pity, to the " vassalage " of our forefathers. 
But if the matter were well inquired into, not slurred over, but 
well and truly examined, we should find, that the people of these 
villages were as free in the days of William Rufus as are the 
people of the present day; and that vassalage, only under other 
names, exists now as completely as it existed then. Well; but 
out of this, if true, arises another question: namely, Whether 
the millions would derive any benefit from being transferred 
from these great lords who possess them by hundreds, to Jews 
and jobbers who would possess them by half-dozens, or by 
couples ? One thing we may say with a certainty of being right: 
and that is, that the transfer would be bad for the lords them- 
selves. There is an appearance of comfort about the dwellings 
of the labourers, all along here, that is very pleasant to behold. 
The gardens are neat, and full of vegetables of the best kinds. 
I see very few of " Ireland's lazy root; " and never, in this 
country, will the people be base enough to lie down and expire 
from starvation under the operation of the extreme unction 1 
Nothing but a potato-eater will ever do that. As I came along 
between Upwaltham and Eastdean, I called to me a young man, 
who, along with other turnip-hoers, was sitting under the shelter 
of a hedge at breakfast. He came running to me with his 
victuals in his hand; and I was glad to see that his food 

Surrey, Sussex, and Hampshire 179 

consisted of a good lump of household bread and not a very 
small piece of bacon. I did not envy him his appetite, for I 
had at that moment a very good one of my own; but I wanted 
to know the distance I had to go before I should get to a good 
public-house. In parting with him, I said, " You do get some 
bacon then? ' " Oh, yes! sir," said he, and with an emphasis 
and a swag of the head which seemed to say, " We must and will 
have that." I saw, and with great delight, a pig at almost every 
labourer's house. The houses are good and warm; and the 
gardens some of the very best that I have seen in England. 
What a difference, good God! what a difference between this 
country and the neighbourhood of those corrupt places Great 
Bedwin and Cricklade. What sort of breakfast would this man 
have had in a mess of cold potatoes ? Could he have worked, and 
worked in the wet, too, with such food? Monstrous! No 
society ought to exist where the labourers live in a hog-like sort 
of way. The Morning Chronicle is everlastingly asserting the 
mischievous consequences of the want of enlightening these 
people " i 1 th a sooth ; ' and telling us how well they are 
off in the north. Now, this I know, that in the north, the 
" enlightened " people eat sowens, burgoo, porridge, and potatoes : 
that is to say, oatmeal and water, or the root of extreme unction. 
If this be the effect of their light, give me the darkness " o' th a 
sooth." This is according to what I have heard. If, when I 
go to the north, I find the labourers eating more meat than those 
of the " sooth," I shall then say that " enlightening " is a very 
good thing; but give me none of that " light," or of that " grace," 
which makes a man content with oatmeal and water, or that 
makes him patiently lie down and die of starvation amidst 
abundance of food. The Morning Chronicle hears the labourers 
crying out in Sussex. They are right to cry out in time. When 
they are actually brought down to the extreme unction, it is 
useless to cry out. And next to the extreme unction is the 
porridge of the " enlightened " slaves who toil in the factories 
for the lords of the loom. Talk of vassals ! Talk of villains ! 
Talk of serfs ! Are there any of these, or did feudal times ever 
see any of them, so debased, so absolutely slaves, as the poor 
creatures who, in the " enlightened " north, are compelled to 
work fourteen hours in a day, in a heat of eighty-four degrees; 
and who are liable to punishment for looking out at a window 
of the factory ! 

This is really a soaking day, thus far. I got here at nine 
o'clock. I stripped off my coat, and put it by the kitchen 

180 Rural Rides 

fire. In a parlour just eight feet square I have another fire, 
and have dried my shirt on my back. We shall see what this 
does for a hooping cough. The clouds fly so low as to be seen 
passing by the sides of even little hills on these downs. The 
Devil is said to be busy in a high wind; but he really appears to 
be busy now in this south-west wind. The Quakers will, next 
market day, at Mark Lane, be as busy as he. They and the 
ministers and St. Swithin and Devil all seem to be of a mind. 

I must not forget the churches. That of Donnington is very 
small, for a church. It is about twenty feet wide and thirty 
long. It is, however, sufficient for the population, the amount of 
which is two hundred and twenty-two, not one half o f whom 
are, of course, ever at church at one time. There is, however, 
plenty of room for the whole: the " tower " of this church is 
about double the size of a sentry-box. The parson, whose name 
is Davidson, did not, when the return was laid before Parlia- 
ment, in 1818, reside in the parish. Though the living is a large 
living, the parsonage house was let to " a lady and her three 
daughters." What impudence a man must have to put this 
into a return! The church at Upwaltham is about such 
another, and the " tower " still less than that at Donnington. 
Here the population is seventy-nine. The parish is a rectory, 
and, in the return before mentioned, the parson (whose name 
was Tripp), says, that the church will hold the population, but 
that the parsonage house will not hold him! And why? Be- 
cause it is "a miserable cottage." I looked about for this 
" miserable cottage," and could not find it. What an impudent 
fellow this must have been! And, indeed, what a state of 
impudence have they not now arrived at! Did he, when he 
was ordained, talk anything about a fine house to live in ? Did 
Jesus Christ and Saint Paul talk about fine houses? Did not 
this priest most solemnly vow to God, upon the altar, that he 
would be constant, in season and out of season, in watching 
over the souls of his flock ? However, it is useless to remonstrate 
with this set of men. Nothing will have any effect upon them. 
They will keep grasping at the tithes as long as they can reach 
them. "A miserable cottage I ' What impudence! What, 
Mr. Tripp, is it a fine house that you have been appointed and 
ordained to live in ? Lord Egremont is the patron of Mr. Tripp ; 
and he has a duty to perform too; for the living is not his: he 
is, in this case, only an hereditary trustee for the public; and he 
ought to see that this parson resides in the parish, which, 
according to his own return, yields him 125 a year. Eastdean 

Surrey, Sussex, and Hampshire 181 

is a vicarage, with a population of 353, a church which the 
parson says will hold 200, and which I say will hold 600 or 700, 
and a living worth 85 a year, in the gift of the Bishop of 

Westdean is united with Singleton, the living is in the gift of 
the church at Chichester and the Duke of Richmond alternately; 
it is a large living, it has a population of 613, and the two 
churches, says the parson, will hold 200 people ! What careless, 
or what impudent fellows these must have been. These two 
churches will hold a thousand people, packed much less close 
than they are in meeting houses. 

At Upwaltham there is a toll gate, and, when the woman 
opened the door of the house to come and let me through, I 
saw some straw plat lying in a chair. She showed it me; and I 
found that it was made by her husband, in the evenings, after 
he came home from work, in order to make him a hat for the 
harvest. I told her how to get better straw for the purpose; 
and when I told her that she must cut the grass, or the grain, 
green, she said, " Aye, I dare say it is so: and I wonder we never 
thought of that before; for we sometimes make hats out of 
rushes, cut green, and dried, and the hats are very durable." 
This woman ought to have my Cottage Economy. She keeps 
the toll-gate at Upwaltham, which is called Waltham, and 
which is on the turnpike road from Petworth to Chichester. 
Now, if any gentleman, who lives at Chichester, will call upon 
my son, at the office of the Register in Fleet Street, and ask for a 
copy of Cottage Economy, to be given to this woman, he will 
receive the copy, and my thanks, if he will have the goodness 
to give it to her, and to point to her the Essay on Straw Plat. 


Saturday, 2 August. 

Here I am in spite of St. Swithin ! The truth is, that the saint 
is like most other oppressors; rough him! rough him! and he 
relaxes. After drying myself, and sitting the better part of 
four hours at Singleton, I started in the rain, boldly setting the 
saint at defiance, and expecting to have not one dry thread by 
the time I got to Havant, which is nine miles from Fareham, 
and four from Cosham. To my most agreeable surprise, the 
rain ceased before I got by Selsey, I suppose it is called, where 
Lord Selsey's house and beautiful and fine estate is. On I went, 
turning off to the right to go to Funtington and Westbourn, and 
getting to Havant to bait my horse, about four o'clock. 

1 82 Rural Rides 

From Lavant (about two miles back from Funtington) the 
ground begins to be a sea-side flat. The soil is somewhat varied 
in quality and kind; but, with the exception of an enclosed 
common between Funtington and Westbourn, it is all good soil. 
The corn of all kinds good and earlier than further back. They 
have begun cutting peas here, and, near Lavant, I saw a field 
of wheat nearly ripe. The Swedish turnips very fine, and still 
earlier than on the South Downs. Prodigicus crops of walnuts; 
but the apples bad along here. The south-west winds have 
cut them off; and, indeed, how should it be otherwise, if these 
winds happen to prevail in May, or early in June ? 

On the new enclosure near Funtington, the wheat and oats 
are both nearly ripe. 

In a new enclosure, near Westbourn, I saw the only really 
blighted wheat that I have yet seen this year. ' Oh 1 ' ' ex- 
claimed I, " that my Lord Liverpool; that my much respected 
stern-path-of-duty-man could but see that wheat, which God 
and the seedsman intended to be white ; but which the Devil 
(listening to the prayers of the Quakers) has made black I Oh ! 
could but my lord see it, lying flat upon the ground, with the 
May-weed and the couch-grass pushing up through it, and with 
a whole flock of rooks pecking away at its ears! Then would 
my much valued lord say, indeed, that the ' difficulties ' of 
agriculture are about to receive the ' greatest abatement ! ' 

But now I come to one of the great objects of my journey: 
that is to say, to see the state of the corn along at the south foot 
and on the south side of Portsdown Hill. It is impossible that 
there can be, anywhere, a better corn country than this. The 
hill is eight miles long, and about three-fourths of a mile high, 
beginning at the road that runs along at the foot of the hill. 
On the hill-side the corn land goes rather better than half way 
up; and, on the sea-side, the corn land is about the third (it may 
be half) a mile wide. Portsdown Hill is very much in the shape 
of an oblong tin cover to a dish. From Bedhampton, which lies 
at the eastern end of the hill, to Fareham, which is at the western 
end of it, you have brought under your eye not less than eight 
square miles of corn fields, with scarcely a hedge or ditch of any 
consequence, and being, on an average, from twenty to forty 
acres each in extent. The land is excellent. The situation 
good for manure. The spot the earliest in the whole kingdom. 
Here, if the corn were backward, then the harvest must be back- 
ward. We were talking at Reigate of the prospect of a back- 
ward harvest. I observed that it was a rule that if no wheat 

Surrey, Sussex, and Hampshire 183 

were cut under Portsdown Hill on the hill fair-day, 26th July, 
the harvest must be generally backward. When I made this 
observation, the fair-day was passed; but I determined in my 
mind to come and see how the matter stood. When, therefore, 
I got to the village of Bedhampton, I began to look out pretty 
sharply. I came on to Wimmering, which is just about the 
mid-way along the foot of the hill, and there I saw, at a good 
distance from me, five men reaping in a field of wheat of about 
40 acres. I found, upon inquiry, that they began this morning, 
and that the wheat belongs to Mr. Boniface, of Wimmering. 
Here the first sheaf is cut that is cut in England : that the reader 
may depend upon. It was never known that the average even 
of Hampshire was less than ten days behind the average of 
Portsdown Hill. The corn under the hill is as good as I ever saw 
it, except in the year 1813. No beans here. No peas. Scarcely 
any oats. Wheat, barley, and turnips. The Swedish turnips 
not so good as on the South Downs and near Funtington; but 
the wheat full as good, rather better; and the barley as good as 
it is possible to be. In looking at these crops, one wonders 
whence are to come the hands to clear them off. 

A very pleasant ride to-day; and the pleasanter for my having 
set the wet saint at defiance. It is about thirty miles from 
Petworth to Fareham; and I got in in very good time. I have 
now come, if I include my boltings, for the purpose of looking at 
farms and woods, a round hundred miles from the Wen to this 
town of Fareham; and, in the whole of the hundred miles, 
I have not seen one single wheat rick, though I have come 
through as fine corn countries as any in England, and by the 
homesteads of the richest of farmers. Not one single wheat 
rick have I seen, and not one rick of any sort of corn. I never 
saw, nor heard of the like of this before; and if I had not wit- 
nessed the fact with my own eyes I could not have believed it. 
There are some farmers who have corn in their barns perhaps; 
but when there is no rick left, there is very little corn in the 
hands of farmers. Yet the markets, St. Swithin notwithstand- 
ing, do not rise. This harvest must be three weeks later than 
usual; and the last harvest was three weeks earlier than usual. 
The last crop was begun upon at once, on account of the badness 
of the wheat of the year before. So that the last crop will have 
had to give food for thirteen months and a half. And yet the 
markets do not rise! And yet there are men, farmers, mad 
enough to think, that they have " got past the bad place," and 
that things will come about, and are coming about ! And Leth- 

184 Rural Rides 

bridge, of the Collective, withdraws his motion because he has 
got what he wanted: namely, a return of good and " remunerat- 
ing prices ! ' The Morning Chronicle of this day, which has met 
me at this place, has the following paragraph. " The weather 
is much improved, though it does not yet assume the character 
of being fine. At the Corn Exchange since Monday the arrivals 
consist of 7130 quarters of wheat, 450 quarters of barley, 8300 
quarters of oats, and 9200 sacks of flour. The demand for 
wheat is next to zero, and for oats it is extremely dull. To 
effect sales, prices are not much attended to, for the demand 
cannot be increased at the present currency. The farmers 
should pay attention to oats, for the foreign new, under the 
king's lock, will be brought into consumption, unless a decline 
takes place immediately, and a weight will thereby be thrown 
over the markets, which under existing circumstances will be 
extremely detrimental to the agricultural interests. Its dis- 
tress however does not deserve much sympathy, for as soon as 
there was a prospect of the payment of rents, the cause of the 
people was abandoned by the representatives of agriculture in 
the Collected Wisdom, and Mr. Brougham's most excellent 
measure for increasing the consumption of malt was neglected. 
Where there is no sympathy, none can be expected, and the 
land proprietors need not in future depend on the assistance of 
the mercantile and manufacturing interests, should their own 
distress again require a united effort to remedy the general 
grievances." As to the mercantile and manufacturing people, 
what is the land to expect from them? But I agree with the 
Chronicle, that the landlords deserve ruin. They abandoned 
the public cause the moment they thought that they saw a 
prospect of getting rents. That prospect will soon disappear, 
unless they pray hard to St. Swithin to insist upon forty days 
wet after his birthday. I do not see what the farmers can do 
about the price of oats. They have no power to do anything 
unless they come with their cavalry horses and storm the 
" king's lock." In short, it is all confusion in men's minds as 
well as in their pockets. There must be something completely 
out of joint, when the government are afraid of the effects of a 
good crop. I intend to set off to-morrow for Botley, and go 
thence to Easton; and then to Alton and Crondall and Farnham, 
to see how the hops are there. By the time that I get back 
to the Wen, I shall know nearly the real state of the case as to 
crops; and that, at this time, is a great matter. 


5 August, 1823. 

I GOT to Fareham on Saturday night, after having got a soaking 
on the South Downs on the morning of that day. On the 
Sunday morning, intending to go and spend the day at Titch- 
field (about three miles and a half from Fareham), and perceiv- 
ing, upon looking out of the window, about 5 o'clock in the 
morning, that it was likely to rain, I got up, struck a bustle, 
got up the ostler, set off and got to my destined point before 
7 o'clock in the morning. And here I experienced the benefits 
of early rising; for I had scarcely got well and safely under 
cover, when St. Swithin began to pour down again, and he con- 
tinued to pour during the whole of the day. From Fareham to 
Titchfield village a large part of the ground is a common enclosed 
some years ago. It is therefore amongst the worst of the 1'and 
in the country. Yet, I did not see a bad field of corn along here, 
and the Swedish turnips were, I think, full as fine as any that 
I saw upon the South Downs. But it is to be observed that this 
land is in the hands of dead-weight people, and is conveniently 
situated for the receiving of manure from Portsmouth. Before 
I got to my friend's house, I passed by a farm where I expected 
to find a wheat-rick standing. I did not, however; and this is 
the strongest possible proof that the stock of corn is gone out 
of the hands of the farmers. I set out from Titchfield at 7 o'clock 
in the evening, and had seven miles to go to reach Botley. It 
rained, but I got myself well furnished forth as a defence against 
the rain. I had not gone two hundred yards before the rain 
ceased; so that I was singularly fortunate as to rain this day; 
and I had now to congratulate myself on the success of the 
remedy for the hooping-cough which I used the day before on 
the South Downs; for really, though I had a spell or two of 
coughing on Saturday morning when I set out from Petworth, 
I have not had, up to this hour, any spell at all since I got wet 
* G 6 3 8 185 

1 86 Rural Rides 

upon the South Downs. I got to Botley about nine o'clock, 
having stopped two or three times to look about me as I went 
along; for I had, in the first place, to ride, for about three miles 
of my road, upon a turnpike road of which I was the projector, 
and, indeed, the maker. In the next place I had to ride, for 
something better than half a mile of my way, along between 
fields and coppices that were mine until they came into the 
hands of the mortgagee, and by the side of cottages of my own 
building. The only matter of much interest with me was the 
state of the inhabitants of those cottages. I stopped at two 
or three places, and made some little inquiries; I rode up to 
two or three houses in the village of Botley, which I had to pass 
through, and, just before it was dark, I got to a farm-house close 
by the church, and what was more, not a great many yards 
from the dwelling of that delectable creature, the Botley parson, 
whom, however, I have not seen during my stay at this place. 

Botley lies in a valley, the soil of which is a deep and stiff clay. 
Oak trees grow well; and this year the wheat grows well, as it 
does upon all the clays that I have seen. I have never seen 
the wheat better in general, in this part of the country, than 
it is now. I have, I think, seen it heavier; but never clearer 
from blight. It is backward compared to the wheat in many 
other parts; some of it is quite green; but none of it has any 
appearance of blight. This is not much of a barley country. 
The oats are good. The beans that I have seen, very indifferent. 

The best news that I have learnt here is, that the Botley 
parson is become quite a gentle creature, compared to what he 
used to be. The people in the village have told me some most 
ridiculous stories about his having been hoaxed in London! 
It seems that somebody danced him up from Botley to London, 
by telling him that a legacy had been left him, or some such 
story. Up went the parson on horseback, being in too great 
a hurry to run the risk of coach. The hoaxers, it appears, got 
him to some hotel, and there set upon him a whole tribe of 
applicants, wet-nurses, dry-nurses, lawyers with deeds of 
conveyance for borrowed money, curates in want of churches, 
coffin-makers, travelling companions, ladies' maids, dealers in 
Yorkshire hams, Newcastle coals, and dealers in dried night- 
soil at Islington. In short, if I am rightly informed, they kept 
the parson in town for several days, bothered him three parts 
out of his senses, compelled him to escape, as it were, from a fire; 
and then, when he got home, he found the village posted all 
over with handbills giving an account of his adventure, under 

Hampshire and Surrey 187 

the pretence of offering 500 reward for a discovery of the 
hoaxers! The good of it was the parson ascribed his disgrace 
to me, and they say that he perseveres to this hour in accusing 
me of it. Upon my word, I had nothing to do with the matter, 
and this affair only shows that I am not the only friend 
that the parson has in the world. Though this may have 
had a tendency to produce in the parson that amelioration of 
deportment which is said to become him so well, there is some- 
thing else that has taken place, which has, in all probability, 
had a more powerful influence in this way; namely, a great 
reduction in the value of the parson's living, which was at one 
time little short of five hundred pounds a year, and which, I 
believe, is now not the half of that sum! This, to be sure, is 
not only a natural but a necessary consequence of the change 
in the value of money. The parsons are neither more nor less 
than another sort of landlords. They must fall, of course, in 
their demands, or their demands will not be paid. They may 
take in kind, but that will answer them no purpose at all. They 
will be less people than they have been, and will continue to 
grow less and less, until the day when the whole of the tithes 
and other church property, as it is called, shall be applied to 
public purposes, 

Wednesday Evening, 6 August. 

This village of Easton lies at a few miles towards the north- 
east from Winchester. It is distant from Botley by the way 
which I came about fifteen or sixteen miles. I came through 
Durley, where I went to the house of farmer Mears. I was very 
much pleased with what I saw at Durley, which is about two 
miles from Botley, and is certainly one of the most obscure 
villages in this whole kingdom. Mrs. Mears, the farmer's wife, 
had made, of the crested dog's tail grass, a bonnet which she 
wears herself. I there saw girls platting the straw. They had 
made plat of several degrees of fineness; and they sell it to 
some person or persons at Fareham, who, I suppose, makes it 
into bonnets. Mrs. Mears, who is a very intelligent and clever 
woman, has two girls at work, each of whom earns per week as 
much (within a shilling) as her father, who is a labouring man, 
earns per week. The father has at this time only 7$. per week. 
These two girls (and not very stout girls) earn six shillings a 
week each : thus the income of this family is, from seven shillings 
a week, raised to nineteen shillings a week. I shall suppose that 

Rural Rides 

this may in some measure be owing to the generosity of ladies in 
the neighbourhood, and to their desire to promote this domestic 
manufacture; but if I suppose that these girls receive double 
compared to what they will receive for the same quantity of 
labour when the manufacture becomes more general, is it not a 
great thing to make the income of the family thirteen shillings 
a week instead of seven? Very little, indeed, could these poor 
things have done in the field during the last forty days. And, 
besides, how clean; how healthful; how everything that one 
could wish, is this sort of employment ! The farmer, who is also 
a very intelligent person, told me that he should endeavour to 
introduce the manufacture as a thing to assist the obtaining of 
employment, in order to lessen the amount of the poor-rates. 
I think it very likely that this will be done in the parish of Durley. 
A most important matter it is, to put -paupers in the way of ceasing 
to be paupers. I could not help admiring the zeal as well as the 
intelligence of the farmer's wife, who expressed her readiness to 
teach the girls and women of the parish, in order to enable them 
to assist themselves. I shall hear, in all probability, of their 
proceedings at Durley, and if I do, I shall make a point of com- 
municating to the public an account of those interesting pro- 
ceedings. From the very first; from the first moment of my 
thinking about this straw affair, I regarded it as likely to assist 
in bettering the lot of the labouring people. If it has not this 
effect, I value it not. It is not worth the attention of any of us ; 
but I am satisfied that this is the way in which it will work. I 
have the pleasure to know that there is one labouring family, at 
any rate, who are living well through my means. It is I, who, 
without knowing them, without ever having seen them, without 
even now knowing their names, have given the means of good 
living to a family who were before half-starved. This is indis- 
putably my work; and when I reflect that there must necessarily 
be, now, some hundreds of families, and shortly, many thousands 
of families, in England, who are and will be, through my means, 
living well instead of being half- starved, I cannot but feel 
myself consoled; I cannot but feel that I have some compensa- 
tion for the sentence passed upon me by Ellenborough, Grose, 
Le Blanc, and Bailey; and I verily believe, that, in the case 
of this one single family in the parish of Durley, I have done 
more good than Bailey ever did in the whole course of his life, 
notwithstanding his pious commentary on the Book of Common 
Prayer. I will allow nothing to be good, with regard to the 
labouring classes, unless it make an addition to their victuals, 

Hampshire and Surrey 189 

drink, or clothing. As to their minds, that is much too sublime 
matter for me to think about. I know that they are in rags, 
and that they have not a belly- full; and I know that the way 
to make them good, to make them honest, to make them dutiful, 
to make them kind to one another, is to enable them to live 
well; and I also know that none of these things will ever be 
accomplished by Methodist sermons, and by those stupid, at 
once stupid and malignant things, and roguish things, called 
Religious Tracts. 

It seems that this farmer at Durley has always read the 
Register, since the first appearance of little Two-penny Trash. 
Had it not been for this reading, Mrs. Mears would not have 
thought about the grass; and had she not thought about the 
grass, none of the benefits above mentioned would have arisen 
to her neighbours. The difference between this affair and the 
spinning-jenny affairs is this; that the spinning- jenny affairs 
fill the pockets of " rich ruffians," such as those who would have 
murdered me at Coventry; and that this straw affair makes an 
addition to the food and raiment of the labouring classes, and 
gives not a penny to be pocketed by the rich ruffians. 

From Durley I came on in company with farmer Mears through 
Upham. This Upham is the place where Young, who wrote 
that bombastical stuff, called Night Thoughts, was once the 
parson, and where, I believe, he was born. Away to the right 
of Upham lies the little town of Bishop's Waltham, whither I 
wished to go very much, but it was too late in the day. From 
Upham we came on upon the high land, called Black Down. 
This has nothing to do with that Black-down Hill, spoken of in 
my last ride. We are here getting up upon the chalk hills, 
which stretch away towards Winchester. The soil here is a 
poor blackish stuff, with little white stones in it, upon a bed of 
chalk. It was a down not many years ago The madness and 
greediness of the days of paper-money led to the breaking of it 
up. The corn upon it is miserable, but as good as can be 
expected upon such land. 

At the end of this tract, we come to a spot called Whiteflood, 
and here we cross the old turnpike-road which leads from 
Winchester to Gosport through Bishop's Waltham. Whiteflood 
is at the foot of the first of a series of hills over which you come 
to get to the top of that lofty ridge called Morning Hill. The 
farmer came to the top of the first hill along with me, and he 
was just about to turn back, when I, looking away to the left, 
down a valley which stretched across the other side of the down, 

190 Rural Rides 

observed a rather singular appearance, and said to the farmer, 
" What is that coming up that valley? is it smoke, or is it a 
cloud? ' The day had been very fine hitherto; the sun was 
shining very bright where we were. The farmer answered, 
" Oh, it's smoke; it comes from Ouselberry, which is down in 
that bottom behind those trees." So saying, we bid each other 
good day; he went back, and I went on. Before I had got a 
hundred and fifty yards from him, the cloud which he had taken 
for the Ouselberry smoke, came upon the hill and wet me to 
the skin. He was not far from the house at Whiteflood; but I 
am sure that he could not entirely escape it. It is curious to 
observe how the clouds sail about in the hilly countries, and 
particularly, I think, amongst the chalk-hills. I have never 
observed the like amongst the sand-hills, or amongst rocks. 

From Whiteflood you come over a series of hills, part of which 
form a rabbit-warren called Longwocd warren, on the borders of 
which is the house and estate of Lord Northesk. These hills are 
amongst the most barren of the downs of England; yet a part 
of them was broken up during the rage for improvements ; during 
the rage for what empty men think was an augmenting of the 
capital of the country. On about twenty acres of this land, sown 
with wheat, I should not suppose that there would be twice 
twenty bushels of grain ! A man must be mad, or nearly mad, 
to sow wheat upon such a spot. However, a large part of what 
was enclosed has been thrown out again already, and the rest will 
be thrown out in a very few years. The down itself was poor; 
what then must it be as corn-land! Think of the destruction 
which has here taken place. The herbage was not good, but it 
was something: it was something for every year, and without 
trouble. Instead of grass it will now, for twenty years to come, 
bear nothing but that species of weeds which is hardy enough 
to grow where the grass will not grow. And this was " augment- 
ing the capital of the nation." These new enclosure-bills were 
boasted of by George Rose and by Pitt as proofs of national 
prosperity! When men in power are ignorant to this extent, 
who is to expect anything but consequences such as we now 

From the top of this high land called Morning Hill, and the 
real name of which is Magdalen Hill, from a chapel which once 
stood there dedicated to Mary Magdalen; from the top of this 
land you have a view of a circle which is upon an average about 
seventy miles in diameter; and I believe in no one place so little 
as fifty miles in diameter. You see the Isle of Wight in one 

Hampshire and Surrey 191 

direction, and in the opposite direction you see the high lands in 
Berkshire. It is not a pleasant view, however. The fertile spots 
are all too far from you. Descending from this hill, you cross 
the turnpike-road (about two miles from Winchester), leading 
from Winchester to London through Alresford and Farnham. 
As soon as you cross the road, you enter the estate of the 
descendant of Rollo, Duke of Buckingham, which estate is in 
the parish of Avington. In this place the duke has a farm, not 
very good land. It is in his own hands. The corn is indifferent, 
except the barley, which is everywhere good. You come a full 
mile from the roadside down through this farm, to the duke's 
mansion-house at Avington, and to the little village of that 
name, both of them beautifully situated, amidst fine and lofty 
trees, fine meadows, and streams of clear water. On this farm 
of the duke I saw (in a little close by the farm-house) several 
hens in coops with broods of pheasants instead of chickens. It 
seems that a gamekeeper lives in the farm-house, and I dare say 
the duke thinks much more of the pheasants than of the corn. 
To be very solicitous to preserve what has been raised with so 
much care and at so much expense, is by no means unnatural; 
but then there is a measure to be observed here; and that measure 
was certainly outstretched in the case of Mr. Deller. I here saw, 
at this gamekeeping farm-house, what I had not seen since my 
departure from the Wen ; namely, a wheat-rick ! Hard, indeed, 
would it have been if a Plantagenet, turned farmer, had not a 
wheat-rick in his hands. This rick contains, I should think, 
what they call in Hampshire ten loads of wheat, that is to say, 
fifty quarters, or four hundred bushels. And this is the only 
rick, not only of wheat, but of any corn whatever that I have 
seen since I left London. The turnips, upon this farm, are by 
no means good; but I was in some measure compensated for 
the bad turnips by the sight of the duke's turnip-hoers, about 
a dozen females, amongst whom there were several very pretty 
girls, and they were as merry as larks. There had been a shower 
that had brought them into a sort of huddle on the roadside. 
When I came up to them, they all fixed their eyes upon me, and 
upon my smiling, they bursted out into laughter. I observed to 
them that the Duke of Buckingham was a very happy man to 
have such turnip-hoers, and really they seemed happier and 
better off than any work-people that I saw in the fields all the 
way from London to this spot. It is curious enough, but I have 
always observed that the women along this part of the country 
are usually tall. These girls were all tall, straight, fair, round- 

192 Rural Rides 

faced, excellent complexion, and uncommonly gay. They 
were well dressed, too, and I observed the same of all the men 
that I saw down at Avington. This could not be the case if the 
duke were a cruel or hard master; and this is an act of justice 
due from me to the descendant of Rollo. It is in the house of 
Mr. Deller that I make these notes, but as it is injustice that we 
dislike, I must do Rollo justice; and I must again say that the 
good looks and happy faces of his turnip-hoers spoke much more 
in his praise than could have been spoken by fifty lawyers, like 
that Storks who was employed, the other day, to plead against 
the editor of the Bucks Chronicle, for publishing an account of 
the selling-up of farmer Smith, of Ashendon, in that county. I 
came through the duke's park to come to Easton, which is the 
next village below Avington. A very pretty park. The house 
is quite in the bottom; it can be seen in no direction from a 
distance greater than that of four or five hundred yards. The 
river Itchen, which rises near Alresford, which runs down 
through Winchester to Southampton, goes down the middle 
of this valley, and waters all its immense quantity of meadows. 
The duke's house stands not far from the river itself. A stream 
of water is brought from the river to feed a pond before the 
house. There are several avenues of trees which are very 
beautiful, and some of which give complete shelter to the kitchen 
garden, which has, besides, extraordinarily high walls. Never 
was a greater contrast than that presented by this place and the 
place of Lord Egremont. The latter is all loftiness. Every- 
thing is high about it; it has extensive views in all directions. 
It sees and can be seen by all the country around. If I had the 
ousting of one of these noblemen, I certainly, however, would 
oust the duke, who, I dare say, will by no means be desirous of 
seeing arise the occasion of putting the sincerity of the compli- 
ment to the test. The village of Easton is, like that of Avington, 
close by the waterside. The meadows are the attraction; and, 
indeed, it is the meadows that have caused the villages to exist. 

Thursday, 7 August, Noon. 

I took leave of Mr. Deller this morning, about 7 o'clock. 
Came back through Avington Park, through the village of 
Avington, and, crossing the Itchen river, came over to the 
village of Itchen Abas. Abas means below. It is a French 
word that came over with Duke Rollo's progenitors. There 

Hampshire and Surrey 193 

needs no better proof of the high descent of the duke, and of 
the antiquity of his family. This is that Itchen Abas where 
that famous parson-justice, the Reverend Robert Wright, lives, 
who refused to hear Mr. Deller's complaint against the duke's 
servant at his own house, and who afterwards, along with Mr. 
Poulter, bound Mr. Deller over to the quarter sessions for the 
alleged assault. I have great pleasure in informing the public 
that Mr. Deller has not had to bear the expenses in this case 
himself; but that they have been borne by his neighbours, very 
much to the credit of those neighbours. I hear of an affair 
between the Duke of Buckingham and a Mr. Bird, who resides 
in this neighbourhood. If I had had time I should have gone 
to see Mr. Bird, of whose treatment I have heard a great deal, 
and an account of which treatment ought to be brought before 
the public. It is very natural for the Duke of Buckingham to 
wish to preserve that game which he calls his hobby-horse. It 
is very natural for him to delight in his hobby; but hobbies, my 
lord duke, ought to be gentle, inoffensive, perfectly harmless 
little creatures. They ought not to be suffered to kick and fling 
about them: they ought not to be rough-shod, and, above all 
things, they ought not to be great things like those which are 
ridden by the Life Guards : and, like them, be suffered to dance, 
and caper, and trample poor devils of farmers under foot. 
Have your hobbies, my lords of the soil, but let them be gentle; 
in short, let them be hobbies in character with the commons 
and forests, and not the high-fed hobbies from the barracks at 
Knightsbridge, such as put poor Mr. Sheriff Waithman's life in 
jeopardy. That the game should be preserved, every one that 
knows anything of the country will allow; but every man of any 
sense must see that it cannot be preserved by sheer force. It 
must be rather through love than through fear; rather through 
good-will than through ill-will. If the thing be properly 
managed, there will be plenty of game, without any severity 
towards any good man. Mr. Deller's case was so plain: it was 
so monstrous to think that a man was to be punished for being 
on his own ground in pursuit of wild animals that he himself had 
raised: this was so monstrous, that it was only necessary to 
name it to excite the indignation of the country. And Mr. 
Deller has, by his spirit and perseverance, by the coolness and 
the good sense which he has shown throughout the whole of this 
proceeding, merited the commendation of every man who is not 
in his heart an oppressor. It occurs to me to ask here, who it 
is that finally pays for those " counsels' opinions " which Poulter 

194 Rural Rides 

and Wright said they took in the case of Mr. Deller; because, 
if these counsels' opinions are paid for by the county, and if a 
justice of the peace can take as many counsels' opinions as he 
chooses, I should like to know what fellow, who chooses to put 
on a bobtail wig and call himself a lawyer, may not have a good 
living given to him by any crony justice at the expense of the 
county. This never can be legal. It never can be binding on 
the county to pay for these counsels' opinions. However, 
leaving this to be inquired into another time, we have here, in 
Mr. Deller's case, an instance of the worth of counsels' opinions. 
Mr. Deller went to the two justices, showed them the Register 
with the Act of Parliament in it, called upon them to act agree- 
ably to that Act of Parliament; but they chose to take counsels' 
opinion first. The two " counsel," the two " lawyers," the two 
" learned friends," told them that they were right in rejecting 
the application of Mr. Deller and in binding him over for the 
assault; and, after all, this grand jury threw out the bill, and 
in that throwing out showed that they thought the counsels' 
opinions not worth a straw. 

Being upon the subject of matter connected with the conduct 
of these parson-justices, I will here mention what is now going 
on in Hampshire respecting the accounts of the treasurer of the 
county. At the last quarter sessions, or at a meeting of the 
magistrates previous to the opening of the sessions, there was a 
discussion relative to this matter. The substance of which 
appears to have been this; that the treasurer, Mr. George Hollis, 
whose accounts had been audited, approved of, and passed, every 
year by the magistrates, is in arrear to the county to the amount 
of about four thousand pounds. Sir Thomas Baring appears to 
have been the great stickler against Mr. Hollis, who was but 
feebly defended by his friends. The treasurer of a county is 
compelled to find securities. These securities have become 
exempted, in consequence of the annual passing of the accounts by 
the magistrates ! Nothing can be more just than this exemption. 
I am security, suppose, for a treasurer. The magistrates do not 
pass his accounts on account of a deficiency. I make good the 
deficiency. But the magistrates are not to go on year after 
year passing his accounts, and then, at the end of several years, 
come and call upon me to make good the deficiencies. Thus 
say the securities of Mr. Hollis. The magistrates, in fact, are 
to blame. One of the magistrates, a Reverend Mr. Orde, said 
that the magistrates were more to blame than the treasurer; 
and really I think so too; for though Mr. Hollis has been a tool 

Hampshire and Surrey 195 

for many, many years of Old George Rose and the rest of that 
crew, it seems impossible to believe that he could have intended 
anything dishonest, seeing that the detection arose out of an 
account, published by himself in the newspaper, which account 
he need not have published until three months later than the 
time when he did publish it. This is, as he himself states, the 
best possible proof that he was unconscious of any error or any 
deficiency. The fact appears to be this; that Mr. Hollis, who 
has for many years been under sheriff as well as treasurer of the 
county, who holds several other offices, and who has, besides, 
had large pecuniary transactions with his bankers, has for years 
had his accounts so blended that he has not known how this 
money belonging to the county stood. His own statement 
shows that it was all a mass of confusion. The errors, he says, 
have arisen, entirely from the negligence of his clerks, and from 
causes which produced a confusion in his accounts. This is 
the fact; but he has been in good fat offices too long not to have 
made a great many persons think that his offices would be better 
in their hands; and they appear resolved to oust him. I, for 
my part, am glad of it; for I remember his coming up to me in 
the grand jury chamber, just after the people of St. Stephen's 
had passed Power-of-Imprisonment Bill in 1817; I remember 
his coming up to me as the under-sheriff of Willis, the man that 
we now call Flemming, who has begun to build a house at North 
Stoneham ; I remember his coming up to me, and with all the 
base sauciness of a thorough-paced Pittite, telling me to disperse 
or he would take me into custody 1 I remember this of Mr. Hollis, 
and I am therefore glad that calamity has befallen him; but I 
must say that after reading his own account of the matter; 
after reading the debate of the magistrates ; and after hearing the 
observations and opinions of well-informed and impartial persons 
in Hampshire who dislike Mr. Hollis as much as I do; I must say 
that I think him perfectly clear of all intention to commit any- 
thing like fraud, or to make anything worthy of the name of 
false account; and I am convinced that this affair, which will 
now prove extremely calamitous to him, might have been laughed 
at by him at the time when wheat was fifteen shillings a bushel. 
This change in the affairs of the government; this penury now 
experienced by the Pittites at Whitehall, reaches, in its influence, 
to every part of the country. The Barings are now the great 
men in Hampshire. They were not such in the days of George 
Rose, while George was able to make the people believe that 
it was necessary to give their money freely to preserve the 


Rural Rides 

" blessed comforts of religion." George Rose would have 
thrown his shield over Mr. Hollis; his broad and brazen shield. 
In Hampshire the bishop too is changed. The present is, 
doubtless, as pious as the last, every bit, and has the same 
bishop-like views; but it is not the same family; it is not the 
Garniers and Poulters and Norths and De Grays and Haygarths; 
it is not precisely the same set who have the power in their hands. 
Things, therefore, take another turn. The Pittite jolterheads 
are all broken - backed ; and the Barings come forward with 
their well-known weight of metal. It was exceedingly unfor- 
tunate for Mr. Hollis that Sir Thomas Baring happened to be 
against him. However, the thing will do good altogether. 
The county is placed in a pretty situation : its treasurer has had 
his accounts regularly passed by the magistrates; and these 
magistrates come at last and discover that they have for a long 
time been passing accounts that they ought not to pass. These 
magistrates have exempted the securities of Mr. Hollis, but not 
a word do they say about making good the deficiencies. What 
redress, then, have the people of the county? They have no 
redress, unless they can obtain it by petitioning the Parliament; 
and if they do not petition; if they do not state their case, and 
that boldly, too, they deserve everything that can befall them 
from similar causes. I am astonished at the boldness of the 
magistrates. I am astonished that they should think of calling 
Mr. Hollis to account without being prepared for rendering an 
account of their own conduct. However, we shall see what they 
will do in the end. And when we have seen that, we shall see 
whether the county will rest quietly under the loss which it is 
likely to sustain. 

I must now go back to Itchen Abas, where, in the farm-yard 
of a farmer, Courtenay, I saw another wheat-rick. From 
Itchen Abas I came up the valley to Itchen Stoke. Soon after 
that I crossed the Itchen river, came out into the Alresford 
turnpike-road, and came on towards Alresford, having the 
valley now upon my left. If the hay be down all the way to 
Southampton in the same manner that it is along here, there 
are thousands of acres of hay rotting on the sides of this Itchen 
river. Most of the meadows are watered artificially. The crops 
of grass are heavy, and they appear to have been cut precisely 
in the right time to be spoiled. Coming on towards Alresford, I 
saw a gentleman (about a quarter of a mile beyond Alresford) 
coming out of his gate with his hat off, looking towards the south- 
west, as if to see what sort of weather it was likely to be. This 

Hampshire and Surrey 197 

was no other than Mr. Rolleston or Rawlinson, who, it appears, 
has a box and some land here. This gentleman was, when I 
lived in Hampshire, one of those worthy men who, in the several 
counties of England, executed " without any sort of remunera- 
tion," such a large portion of that justice which is the envy of 
surrounding nations and admiration of the world. We are often 
told, especially in Parliament, of the disinterestedness of these 
persons; of their worthiness, their piety, their loyalty, their 
excellent qualities of all sorts, but particularly of their dis- 
interestedness, in taking upon them the office of justice of the 
peace; spending so much time, taking so much trouble, and all 
for nothing at all, but for the pure love of their king and country. 
And the worst of it is, that our ministers impose upon this dis- 
interestedness and generosity; and, as in the case of Mr. 
Rawlinson, at the end of, perhaps, a dozen years of services 
voluntarily rendered to " king and country," they force him, 
sorely against his will, no doubt, to become a police magistrate 
in London ! To be sure, there are five or six hundred pounds a 
year of public money attached to this; but what are these 
paltry pounds to a " country gentleman," who so disinterestedly 
rendered us services for so many years? Hampshire is fertile 
in persons of this disinterested stamp. There is a 'Squire 
Greme, who lives across the country, not many miles from the 
spot where I saw " Mr. Justice " Rawlinson. This 'squire also 
has served the country for nothing during a great many years; 
and, of late years, the 'squire junior, eager apparently to emulate 
his sire, has become a distributor of stamps for this famous 
county of Hants! What sons 'Squire Rawlinson may have is 
more than I know at present, though I will endeavour to know 
it, and to find out whether they also be serving us. A great deal 
has been said about the debt of gratitude due from the people to 
the justices of the peace. An account, containing the names 
and places of abode of the justices, and of the public money, or 
titles, received by them and by their relations; such an account 
would be a very useful thing. We should then know the real 
amount of this debt of gratitude. We shall see such an account 
by and by; and we should have seen it long ago, if there had 
been, in a certain place, only one single man disposed to do his 

I came through Alresford about eight o'clock, having loitered 
a good deal in coming up the valley. After quitting Alresford 
you come (on the road towards Alton) to the village of Bishop's 
Button; and then to a place called Ropley Dean, where there 

Rural Rides 

is a house or two. Just before you come to Ropley Dean, you 
see the beginning of the Valley of Itchen. The lichen river 
falls into the salt water at Southampton. It rises, or rather has 
its first rise, just by the roadside at Ropley Dean, which is at the 
foot of that very high land which lies between Alresford and 
Alton. All along by the Itchen river, up to its very source, there 
are meadows; and this vale of meadows, which is about twenty- 
five miles in length, and is, in some places, a mile wide, is, at the 
point of which I am now speaking, only about twice as wide as 
my horse is long! This vale of Itchen is worthy of particular 
attention. There are few spots in England more fertile or more 
pleasant; and none, I believe, more healthy. Following the bed 
of the river, or rather, the middle of the vale, it is about five- 
and-twenty miles in length, from Ropley Dean to the village of 
South Stoneham, which is just above Southampton. The 
average width of the meadows is, I should think, a hundred rods 
at the least; and if I am right in this conjecture, the vale con- 
tains about five thousand acres of meadows, large part of which 
is regularly watered. The sides of the vale are, until you come 
down to within about six or eight miles of Southampton, hills 
or rising grounds of chalk, covered more or less thickly with loam. 
Where the hills rise up very steeply from the valley, the fertility 
of the corn-lands is not so great; but for a considerable part of 
the way, the corn-lands are excellent, and the farm-houses, to 
which those lands belong, are, for the far greater part, under 
covert of the hills on the edge of the valley. Soon after the 
rising of the stream, it forms itself into some capital ponds at 
Alresford. These, doubtless, were augmented by art, in order 
to supply Winchester with fish. The fertility of this vale, and of 
the surrounding country, is best proved by the fact that, besides 
the town of Alresford and that of Southampton, there are 
seventeen villages, each having its parish church, upon its 
borders. When we consider these things we are not surprised 
that a spot situated about half way down this vale should have 
been chosen for the building of a city, or that that city should 
have been for a great number of years a place of residence for 
the kings of England. 

Winchester, which is at present a mere nothing to what it 
once was, stands across the vale at a place where the vale is 
made very narrow by the jutting forward of two immense hills. 
From the point where the river passes through the city, you go, 
whether eastward or westward, a full mile up a very steep hill 
all the way. The city is, of course, in one of the deepest holes 

Hampshire and Surrey 199 

that can be imagined. It never could have been thought of as 
a place to be defended since the discovery of gunpowder; and, 
indeed, one would think that very considerable annoyance might 
be given to the inhabitants even by the flinging of the flint- 
stones from the hills down into the city. 

At Ropley Dean, before I mounted the hill to come on towards 
Rotherham Park, I baited my horse. Here the ground is 
precisely like that at Ashmansworth on the borders of Berkshire, 
which, indeed, I could see from the ground of which I am now 
speaking. In coming up the hill, I had the house and farm of 
Mr. Duthy to my right. Seeing some very fine Swedish turnips, 
I naturally expected that they belonged to this gentleman who 
is secretary to the Agricultural Society of Hampshire; but I 
found that they belonged to a farmer Mayhew. The soil is, 
along upon this high land, a deep loam, bordering on a clay, red 
in colour, and pretty full of large, rough, yellow-looking stones, 
very much like some of the land in Huntingdonshire; but here 
is a bed of chalk under this. Everything is backward here. 
The wheat is perfectly green in most places; but it is every- 
where pretty good. I have observed, all the way along, that 
the wheat is good upon the stiff, strong land. It is so here; 
but it is very backward. The greater part of it is full three 
weeks behind the wheat under Portsdown Hill. But few farm- 
houses come within my sight along here; but in one of them 
there was a wheat-rick, which is the third I have seen since I 
quitted the Wen. In descending from this high ground, in order 
to reach the village of East Tisted, which lies on the turnpike- 
road from the Wen to Gosport through Alton, I had to cross 
Rotherham Park. On the right of the park, on a bank of land 
facing the north-east, I saw a very pretty farm-house, having 
everything in excellent order, with fine corn-fields about it, 
and with a wheat-rick standing in the yard. This farm, as I 
afterwards found, belongs to the owner of Rotherham Park, 
who is also the owner of East Tisted, who has recently built a 
new house in the park, who has quite metamorphosed the village 
of Tisted, within these eight years, who has, indeed, really and 
truly improved the whole country just round about here, whose 
name is Scot, well known as a brickmaker at North End, Fulham, 
and who has, in Hampshire, supplanted a Norman of the name of 
Powlet. The process by which this transfer has taken place 
is visible enough, to all eyes but the eyes of the jolterheads. 
Had there been no debt created to crush liberty in France and 
to keep down reformers in England, Mr. Scot would not have 

2OO Rural Rides 

had bricks to burn to build houses for the Jews and jobbers and 
other eaters of taxes; and the Norman Powlet would not have 
had to pay in taxes, through his own hands and those of his 
tenants and labourers, the amount of the estate at Tisted, first 
to be given to the Jews, jobbers and tax-eaters, and then by 
them to be given to " 'Squire Scot " for his bricks. However, it 
is not 'Squire Scot who has assisted to pass laws to make people 
pay double toll on a Sunday. 'Squire Scot had nothing to do 
with passing the New Game-laws and Old Ellenborough's Act; 
'Squire Scot never invented the New Trespass law, in virtue of 
which John Cockbain of Whitehaven in the county of Cumber- 
land was, by two clergymen and three other magistrates of that 
county, sentenced to pay one half-penny for damages and seven 
shillings costs, for going upon a field, the property of William, 
Earl of Lonsdale. In the passing of this Act, which was one of 
the first passed in the present reign, 'Squire Scot, the brick- 
maker, had nothing to do. Go on, good 'squire, thrust ;out 
some more of the Normans: with the fruits of the augmen- 
tations which you make to the Wen, go, and take from them 
their mansions, parks, and villages! 

At Tisted I crossed the turnpike-road before mentioned, and 
entered a lane which, at the end of about four miles, brought 
me to this village of Selborne. My readers will recollect that 
I mentioned this Selborne when I was giving an account of 
Hawkley Hanger, last fall. I was desirous of seeing this village, 
about which I have read in the book of Mr. White, and which 
a reader has been so good as to send me. From Tisted I came 
generally up hill till I got within half a mile of this village, when, 
all of a sudden, I came to the edge of a hill, looked down over all 
the larger vale of which the little vale of this village makes a 
part. Here Hindhead and Black Down Hill came full in my 
view. When I was crossing the forest in Sussex, going from 
Worth to Horsham, these two great hills lay to my west and 
north-west. To-day I am got just on the opposite side of 
them, and see them, of course, towards the east and the south- 
east, while Leith Hill lies away towards the north-east. This 
hill, from which you descend down into Selborne, is very lofty; 
but, indeed, we are here amongst some of the highest hills in 
the island, and amongst the sources of rivers. The hill over 
which I have come this morning sends the Itchen river forth 
from one side of it, and the river Wey, which rises near Alton, 
from the opposite side of it. Hindhead which lies before me, 
sends, as I observed upon a former occasion, the Arun forth 

Hampshire and Surrey 201 

towards the south and a stream forth towards the north, which 
meets the river Wey, somewhere above Godalming. I am told 
that the springs of these two streams rise in the Hill of Hind- 
head, or rather, on one side of the hill, at not many yards from 
each other. The village of Selborne is precisely what it is 
described by Mr. White. A straggling irregular street, bearing 
all the marks of great antiquity, and showing, from its lanes 
and its vicinage generally, that it was once a very considerable 
place. I went to look at the spot where Mr. White supposes 
the convent formerly stood. It is very beautiful. Nothing 
can surpass in beauty these dells and hillocks and hangers, 
which last are so steep that it is impossible to ascend them, 
except by means of a serpentine path. I found here deep hollow 
ways, with beds and sides of solid white stone; but not quite 
so white and so solid, I think, as the stone which I found in the 
roads at Hawkley. The churchyard of Selborne is most beauti- 
fully situated. The land is good, all about it. The trees are 
luxuriant and prone to be lofty and large. I measured the yew- 
tree in the churchyard, and found the trunk to be, according to 
my measurement, twenty-three feet, eight inches, in circum- 
ference. The trunk is very short, as is generally the case with 
yew-trees ; but the head spreads to a very great extent, and the 
whole tree, though probably several centuries old, appears to be 
in perfect health. Here are several hop-plantations in and 
about this village; but, for this once, the prayers of the over- 
production men will be granted, and the devil of any hops there 
will be. The bines are scarcely got up the poles; the bines and 
the leaves are black, nearly, as soot; full as black as a sooty bag 
or dingy coal-sack, and covered with lice. It is a pity that 
these hop-planters could not have a parcel of Spaniards and 
Portuguese to louse their hops for them. Pretty devils to have 
liberty, when a favourite recreation of the Donna is to crack 
the lice in the head of the Don ! I really shrug up my shoulders 
thinking of the beasts. Very different from such is my landlady 
here at Selborne, who, while I am writing my notes, is getting 
me a rasher of bacon, and has already covered the table with a 
nice clean cloth. I have never seen such quantities of grapes 
upon any vines as I see upon the vines in this village, badly 
pruned as all the vines have been. To be sure, this is a year for 
grapes, such, I believe, as has been seldom known in England, 
and the cause is, the perfect ripening of the wood by the last 
beautiful summer. I am afraid, however, that the grapes come 
in vain; for this summer has been so cold, and is now so wet, 

2O2 Rural Rides 

that we can hardly expect grapes, which are not under glass, to 
ripen. As I was coming into this village, I observed to a farmer 
who was standing at his gateway, that people ought to be happy 
here, for that God had done everything for them. His answer 
was, that he did not believe there was a more unhappy place in 
England: for that there were always quarrels of some sort or 
other going on. This made me call to mind the king's pro- 
clamation, relative to a reward for discovering the person who 
had recently shot at the parson of this village. This parson's name 
is Cobbold, and it really appears that there was a shot fired 
through his window. He has had law-suits with the people; 
and I imagine that it was these to which the farmer alluded. 
The hops are of considerable importance to the village, and their 
failure must necessarily be attended with consequences very 
inconvenient to the whole of a population so small as this. 
Upon inquiry, I find that the hops are equally bad at Alton, 
Froyle, Crondall, and even at Farnham. I saw them bad in 
Sussex; I hear that they are bad in Kent; so that hop-planters, 
at any rate, will be, for once, free from the dreadful evils of 
abundance. A correspondent asks me what is meant by the 
statements which he sees in the Register, relative to the hop- 
duty ? He sees it, he says, continually falling in amount; and 
he wonders what this means. The thing has not, indeed, been 
properly explained. It is a gamble ; and it is hardly right for 
me to state, in a publication like the Register, anything relative 
to a gamble. However, the case is this: a taxing system is 
necessarily a system of gambling; a system of betting; stock- 
jobbing is no more than a system of betting, and the wretched 
dogs that carry on the traffic are little more, except that they 
are more criminal, than the waiters at an E Table, or the 
markers at billiards. The hop duty is so much per pound. 
The duty was imposed at two separate times. One part of it, 
therefore, is called the Old Duty, and the other part the New 
Duty. The old duty was a penny to the pound of hops. The 
amount of this duty, which can always be ascertained at the 
Treasury as soon as the hopping season is over, is the surest 
possible guide in ascertaining the total amount of the growth of 
hops for the year. If, for instance, the duty were to amount 
to no more than eight shillings and fourpence, you would be 
certain that only a hundred pounds of hops had been grown 
during the year. Hence a system of gambling precisely like 
the gambling in the funds. I bet you that the duty will not 
exceed so much. The duty has sometimes exceeded two 

Hampshire and Surrey 203 

hundred thousand pounds. This year, it is supposed, that it 
will not exceed twenty, thirty, or forty thousand. The gambling 
fellows are betting all this time; and it is, in fact, an account 
of the betting which is inserted in the Register. 

This vile paper-money and funding-system; this system of 
Dutch descent, begotten by Bishop Burnet, and born in hell; 
this system has turned everything into a gamble. There are 
hundreds of men who live by being the agents to carry on 
gambling. They reside here in the Wen; many of the gamblers 
live in the country; they write up to their gambling agent, 
whom they call their stockbroker; he gambles according to their 
order; and they receive the profit or stand to the loss. Is it 
possible to conceive a viler calling than that of an agent for the 
carrying on of gambling? And yet the vagabonds call them- 
selves gentlemen; or, at least, look upon themselves as the 
superiors of those who sweep the kennels. In like manner is the 
hop-gamble carried on. The gambling agents in the Wen make 
the bets for the gamblers in the country; and, perhaps, millions 
are betted during the year upon the amount of a duty which, 
at the most, scarcely exceeds a quarter of a million. In such 
a state of things how are you to expect young men to enter on 
a course of patient industry? How are you to expect that they 
will seek to acquire fortune and fame by study or by application 
of any kind ? 

Looking back over the road that I have come to-day, and 
perceiving the direction of the road going from this village 
in another direction, I perceive that this is a very direct road 
from Winchester to Farnham. The road, too, appears to have 
been, from ancient times, sufficiently wide; and when the 
Bishop of Winchester selected this beautiful spot whereon to 
erect a monastery, I dare say the roads along here were some 
of the best in the country. 

Thursday, 7 August. 

I got a boy at Selborne to show me alon the lanes out into 
Woolmer Forest on my way to Headley. The lanes were very 
deep; the wet malme just about the colour of rye-meal mixed 
up with water, and just about as clammy, came, in many places, 
very nearly up to my horse's belly. There was this comfort, 
however, that I was sure that there was a bottom, which is by 
no means the case when you are among clays or quick-sands. 
After going through these lanes, and along between some fir- 

204 Rural Rides 

plantations, I came out upon Woolmer Forest, and, to my great 
satisfaction, soon found myself on the side of those identical 
plantations, which have been made under the orders of the 
smooth Mr. Huskisson, and which I noticed last year in my 
ride from Hambledon to this place. These plantations are of 
fir, or, at least, I could see nothing else, and they never can be 
of any more use to the nation than the sprigs of heath which 
cover the rest of the forest. Is there nobody to inquire what 
becomes of the income of the crown lands ? No, and there never 
will be, until the whole system be changed. I have seldom 
ridden on pleasanter ground than that which I found between 
Woolmer Forest and this beautiful village of Thursley. The 
day has been fine, too; notwithstanding I saw the judges' 
terrific wigs as I came up upon the turnpike-road from the 
village of Itchen. I had but one little scud during the day: 
just enough for St. Swithin to swear by; but when I was upon 
the hills, I saw some showers going about the country. From 
Selborne, I had first to come to Headley, about five miles. I 
came to the identical public-house where I took my blind guide 
last year, who took me such a dance to the southward, and led 
me up to the top of Hindhead at last. I had no business there. 
My route was through a sort of hamlet called Churt, which lies 
along on the side and towards the foot of the north of Hindhead, 
on which side, also, lies the village of Thursley. A line is hardly 
more straight than is the road from Headley to Thursley; and a 
prettier ride I never had in the course of my life. It was not 
the less interesting from the circumstance of its giving me all 
the way a full view of Crooksbury Hill, the grand scene of my 
exploits when I was a taker of the nests of crows and magpies. 

At Churt I had, upon my left, three hills out upon the common, 
called the Devils Jumps. The Unitarians will not believe in 
the Trinity, because they cannot account for it. Will they 
come here to Churt, go and look at these " Devil's Jumps," and 
account to me for the placing of these three hills, in the shape 
of three rather squat sugar-loaves, along in a line upon this 
heath, or the placing of a rock-stone upon the top of one of them 
as big as a church tower? For my part, I cannot account for 
this placing of these hills. That they should have been formed 
by mere chance is hardly to be believed. How could waters 
rolling about have formed such hills? How could such hills 
have bubbled up from beneath ? But, in short, it is all wonder- 
ful alike: the stripes of loam running down through the chalk- 
hills; the circular parcels of loam in the midst of chalk-hills; 

Hampshire and Surrey 205 

the lines of flint running parallel with each other horizontally 
along the chalk-hills; the flints placed in circles as true as a 
hair in the chalk-hills; the layers of stone at the bottom of 
hills of loam; the chalk first soft, then some miles further on 
becoming chalk-stone; then, after another distance, becoming 
burr-stone, as they call it; and at last, becoming hard white- 
stone, fit for any buildings ; the sand-stone at Hindhead becoming 
harder and harder till it becomes very nearly iron in Hereford- 
shire, and quite iron in Wales; but, indeed, they once dug iron 
out of this very Hindhead. The clouds, coming and settling 
upon the hills, sinking down and creeping along, at last coming 
out again in springs, and those becoming rivers. Why, it is all 
equally wonderful, and as to not believing in this or that, because 
the thing cannot be proved by logical deduction, why is any 
man to believe in the existence of a God any more than he is 
to believe in the doctrine of the Trinity? For my part, I think 
the " Devil's Jumps," as the people here call them, full as 
wonderful and no more wonderful than hundreds and hundreds 
of other wonderful things. It is a strange taste which our 
ancestors had to ascribe no inconsiderable part of these wonders 
of nature to the Devil. Not far from the Devil's Jumps is that 
singular place which resembles a sugar-loaf inverted, hollowed 
out and an outside rim only left. This is called the " Devil's 
Punch Bowl ; " and it is very well known in Wiltshire that the 
forming, or, perhaps, it is the breaking up of Stonehenge is 
ascribed to the Devil, and that the mark of one of his feet is 
now said to be seen in one of the stones. 

I got to Thursley about sunset, and without experiencing any 
inconvenience from the wet. I have mentioned the state of 
the corn as far as Selborne. On this side of that village I find 
it much forwarder than I found it between Selborne and Ropley 
Dean. I am here got into some of the very best barley-land in 
the kingdom; a fine, buttery, stoneless loam, upon a bottom of 
sand or sand-stone. Finer barley and tu nip-land it is im- 
possible to see. All the corn is good here. The wheat not a 
heavy crop; but not a light one; and the barley all the way 
along from Headley to this place as fine, if not finer, than I 
ever saw it in my life. Indeed I have not seen a bad field of 
barley since I left the Wen. The corn is not so forward here as 
under Portsdown Hill; but some farmers intend to begin reap- 
ing wheat in a few days. It is monstrous to suppose that the 
price of corn will not come down. It must come down, good 
weather or bad weather. If the weather be bad, it will be so 

206 Rural Rides 

much the worse for the farmer, as well as for the nation at large, 
and can be of no benefit to any human being but the Quakers, 
who must now be pretty busy, measuring the crops all over the 
kingdom. It will be recollected that, in the Report of the 
Agricultural Committee of 1821, it appeared, from the evidence 
of one Hodgson, a partner of Cropper, Benson, and Co., Quakers, 
of Liverpool, that these Quakers sent a set of corn-gaugers into 
the several counties, just before every harvest; that these 
fellows stopped here and there, went into the fields, measured 
off square yards of wheat, clipped off the ears, and carried them 
off. These they afterwards packed up and sent off to Cropper 
and Co. at Liverpool. When the whole of the packets were got 
together, they were rubbed out, measured, weighed, and an 
estimate made of the amount of the coming crop. This, accord- 
ing to the confession of Hodgson himself, enabled these Quakers 
to speculate in corn, with the greater chance of gain. This 
has been done by these men for many years. Their disregard 
of worldly things; their desire to lay up treasures in heaven; 
their implicit yielding to the Spirit; these have induced them 
to send their corn-gaugers over the country regularly year after 
year; and I will engage that they are at it at this moment. 
The farmers will bear in mind that the New Trespass - law, 
though clearly not intended for any such purpose, enables them 
to go and seize by the throat any of these gaugers that they may 
catch in their fields. They could not do this formerly; to cut 
off standing corn was merely a trespass, for which satisfaction 
was to be attained by action of law. But now you can seize the 
caitiff who is come as a spy amongst your corn. Before, he could 
be off and leave you to find out his name as you could; but 
now you can lay hold of him, as Mr. Deller did of the duke's 
man, and bring him before a magistrate at once. I do hope 
that the fanners will look sharp out for these fellows, who are 
neither more nor less than so many spies. They hold a great 
deal of corn; they want blight, mildew, rain, hurricanes; but 
happy I am to see that they will get no blight, at any rate. The 
grain is formed; everywhere everybody tells me that there is 
no blight in any sort of corn, except in the beans. 

I have not gone through much of a bean country. The beans 
that I have seen are some of them pretty good, more of them 
but middling, and still more of them very indifferent. 

I am very happy to hear that that beautiful little bird, the 
American partridge, has been introduced with success to this 
neighbourhood, by Mr. Leech at Lea. I am told that they 

Hampshire and Surrey 207 

have been heard whistling this summer; that they have been 
frequently seen, and that there is no doubt that they have broods 
of young ones. I tried several times to import some of these 
birds; but I always lost them, by some means or other, before 
the time arrived for turning them out. They are a beautiful 
little partridge, and extremely interesting in all their manners. 
Some persons call them quail. If any one will take a quail and 
compare it with one of these birds, he will see that they cannot 
be of the same sort. In my Years Residence in America, I 
have, I think, clearly proved that these birds are partridges, 
and not quails. In the United States, north of New Jersey, 
they are called quail : south and south-west of New Jersey they 
are called partridges. They have been called quail solely on 
account of their size; for they have none of the manners of quail 
belonging to them. Quails assemble in flocks like larks, starlings 
or rooks. Partridges keep in distinct coveys; that is to say, 
the brood lives distinct from all other broods until the ensuing 
spring, when it forms itself into pairs and separates. Nothing 
can be a distinction more clear than this. Our own partridges 
stick to the same spot from the time that they are hatched to 
the time that they pair off, and these American partridges do 
the same. Quails, like larks, get together in flocks at the 
approach of winter, and move about according to the season, 
to a greater or less distance from the place where they were bred. 
These, therefore, which have been brought to Thursley, are 
partridges; and if they be suffered to live quietly for a season 
or two, they will stock the whole of that part of the country, 
where the delightful intermixture of corn-fields, coppices, heaths, 
furze-fields, ponds and rivulets, is singularly favourable to their 

The turnips cannot fail to be good in such a season and in 
such land; yet the farmers are most dreadfully tormented with 
the weeds, and with the superabundant turnips. Here, my 
Lord Liverpool, is over production indeed! They have sown 
their fields broad-cast; they have no means of destroying the 
weeds by the plough; they have no intervals to bury them in; 
and they hoe, or scratch, as Mr. Tull calls it; and then comes 
St. Swithin and sets the weeds and the hoed-up turnips again. 
Then there is another hoeing or scratching; and then comes 
St. Swithin again: so that there is hoe, hoe, muddle, muddle, 
and such a fretting and stewing; such a looking up to Hindhead 
to see when it is going to be fine; when, if that beautiful field 
of twenty acres, which I have now before my eyes, and wherein 

208 Rural Rides 

I see half a dozen men hoeing and poking and muddling, looking 
up to see how long it is before they must take to their heels 
to get under the trees to obtain shelter from the coming shower; 
when, I say, if that beautiful field had been sowed upon ridges 
at four feet apart, according to the plan in my Year's Residence, 
not a weed would have been to be seen in the field, the turnip- 
plants would have been three times the size that they now are, 
the expense would have not been a fourth part of that which 
has already taken place, and all the muddling and poking about 
of weeds, and all the fretting and all the stewing would have 
been spared; and as to the amount of the crop, I am now 
looking at the best land in England for Swedish turnips, and 
I have no scruple to assert that, if it had been sown after my 
manner, it would have had a crop double the weight of that 
which it now will have. I think I know of a field of turnips, 
sown much later than the field now before me, and sown in 
rows at nearly four feet apart, which will have a crop double 
the weight of that which will be produced in yon beautiful field. 

Friday, 8 August. 

At the end of a long, twisting-about ride, but a most delightful 
ride, I got to this place about nine o'clock in the evening. From 
Thursley I came to Brook, and there crossed the turnpike-road 
from London to Chichester through Godalming and Midhurst. 
Thence I came on, turning upon the left upon the sandhills of 
Hambledon (in Surrey, mind). On one of these hills is one of 
those precious jobs, called " Semaphores." For what reason 
this pretty name is given to a sort of telegraph house, stuck up 
at public expense upon a high hill; for what reason this out- 
landish name is given to the thing, I must leave the reader to 
guess; but as to the thing itself, I know that it means this: 
a pretence for giving a good sum of the public money away every 
year to some one that the borough-system has condemned this 
labouring and toiling nation to provide for. The Dead Weight 
of nearly about six millions sterling a year; that is to say, this 
curse entailed upon the country on account of the late wars 
against the liberties of the French people, this Dead Weight is, 
however, falling, in part, at least, upon the landed jolterheads 
who were so eager to create it, and who thought that no part 
of it would fall upon themselves. Theirs has been a grand 
mistake. They saw the war carried on without any loss or any 

Hampshire and Surrey 209 

cost to themselves. By the means of paper-money and loans, 
the labouring classes were made to pay the whole of the expenses 
of the war. When the war was over, the jolterheads thought 
they would get gold back again to make all secure; and some 
of them really said, I am told, that it was high time to put an 
end to the gains of the paper-money people. The jolterheads 
quite overlooked the circumstance that, in returning to gold, 
they doubled and trebled what they had to pay on account of 
the debt, and that, at last, they were bringing the burden upon 
themselves. Grand, also, was the mistake of the jolterheads, 
when they approved of the squanderings upon the Dead Weight. 
They thought that the labouring classes were going to pay the 
whole of the expenses of the Knights of Waterloo, and of the 
other heroes of the war. The jolterheads thought that they 
should have none of this to pay. Some of them had relations 
belonging to the Dead Weight, and all of them were willing to 
make the labouring classes toil like asses for the support of those 
who had what was called " fought and bled " for Gatton and 
Old Sarum. The jolterheads have now found, however, that 
a pretty good share of the expense is to fall upon themselves. 
Their mortgagees are letting them know that Semaphores and such 
pretty things cost something, and that it is unreasonable for 
a loyal country gentleman, a friend of " social order " and of 
the " blessed comforts of religion " to expect to have semaphores 
and to keep his estate too. 

This Dead Weight is, unquestionably, a thing such as the 
world never saw before. Here are not only a tribe of pensioned 
naval and military officers, commissaries, quarter-masters, 
pursers, and God knows what besides ; not only these, but their 
wives and children are to be pensioned, after the death of the 
heroes themselves. Nor does it signify, it seems, whether the 
hero were married, before he became part of the Dead Weight, 
or since. Upon the death of the man, the pension is to begin 
with the wife, and a pension for each child; so that, if there be 
a large family of children, the family, in many cases, actually 
gains by the death of the father ! Was such a thing as this ever 
before heard of in the world ? Any man that is going to die has 
nothing to do but to marry a girl to give her a pension for life 
to be paid out of the sweat of the people; and it was distinctly 
stated, during the session of Parliament before the last, that the 
widows and children of insane officers were to have the same 
treatment as the rest ! Here is the envy of surrounding nations 
and the admiration of the world ! In addition, then, to twenty 

H 6 3 8 

2 i o Rural Rides 

thousand parsons, more than twenty thousand stockbrokers 
and stockjobbers perhaps ; forty or fifty thousand tax-gatherers ; 
thousands upon thousands of military and naval officers in full 
pay; in addition to all these, here are the thousands upon 
thousands of pairs of this Dead Weight, all busily engaged in 
breeding gentlemen and ladies; and all while Malthus is wanting 
to put a check upon the breeding of the labouring classes; all 
receiving a premium for breeding I Where is Malthus? Where 
is this check-population parson! Where are his friends, the 
Edinburgh Reviewers? Faith, I believe they have given him 
up. They begin to be ashamed of giving countenance to a man 
who wants to check the breeding of those who labour, while he 
says not a word about those two hundred thousand breeding 
pairs, whose offspring are necessarily to be maintained at the 
public charge. Well may these fatteners upon the labour of 
others rail against the Radicals! Let them once take the fan 
to their hand, and they will, I warrant it, thoroughly purge the 
floor. However, it is a consolation to know that the jolter- 
heads who have been the promoters of the measures that have 
led to these heavy charges; it is a consolation to know that the 
jolterheads have now to bear part of the charges, and that they 
cannot any longer make them fall exclusively upon the shoulders 
of the labouring classes. The disgust that one feels at seeing the 
whiskers, and hearing the copper heels rattle, is in some measure 
compensated for by the reflection that the expense of them is 
now beginning to fall upon the malignant and tyrannical jolter- 
heads who are the principal cause of their being created. 

Bidding the Semaphore good-bye, I came along by the church 
at Hambledon, and then crossed a little common and the turn- 
pike-road, from London to Chichester through Godalming and 
Petworth; not Midhurst, as before. The turnpike-road here 
is one of the best that ever I saw. It is like the road upon 
Horley Common, near Worth, and like that between Godstone 
and East Grinstead; and the cause of this is, that it is made of 
precisely the same sort of stone, which, they tell me, is brought, 
in some cases, even from Blackdown Hill, which cannot be less, 
I should think, than twelve miles distant. This stone is brought 
in great lumps, and then cracked into little pieces. The next 
village I came to after Hambledon was Hascomb, famous for 
its beech, insomuch that it is called Hascomb Beech. 

There are two lofty hills here, between which you go out of the 
sandy country down into the Weald. Here are hills of all 
heights and forms. Whether they came in consequence of a 

Hampshire and Surrey 21 i 

boiling of the earth, I know not; but, in form, they very much 
resemble the bubbles upon the top of the water of a pot which 
is violently boiling. The soil is a beautiful loam upon a bed of 
sand. Springs start here and there at the feet of the hills ; and 
little rivulets pour away in all directions. The roads are diffi- 
cult merely on account of their extreme unevenness ; the bottom 
is everywhere sound, and everything that meets the eye is 
beautiful; trees, coppices, cornfields, meadows; and then the 
distant views in every direction. From one spot I saw this 
morning Hindhead, Blackdown Hill, Lord Egremont's house 
and park at Petworth, Donnington Hill, over which I went to 
go on the South Downs, the South Downs near Lewes: the 
forest at Worth, Turner's Hill, and then all the way round into 
Kent and back to the Surrey Hills at Godstone. From Has- 
comb I began to descend into the low country. I had Leith 
Hill before me ; but my plan was, not to go over it or any part of 
it, but to go along below it in the real Weald of Surrey. A little 
way back from Hascomb, I had seen a. field of carrots ; and now 
I was descending into a country where, strictly speaking, only 
three things will grow well grass, wheat, and oak trees. At 
Goose Green, I crossed a turnpike-road leading from Guildford 
to Horsham and Arundel. I next come, after crossing a canal, 
to a common called Smithwood Common. Leith Hill was full 
in front of me, but I turned away to the right, and went through 
the lanes to come to Ewhurst, leaving Crawley to my right. 
Before I got to Ewhurst, I crossed another turnpike-road, leading 
from Guildford to Horsham, and going on to Worthing or some 
of those towns. 

At Ewhurst, which is a very pretty village, and the church 
of which is most delightfully situated, I treated my horse to 
some oats, and myself to a rasher of bacon. I had now to come, 
according to my project, round among the lanes at about a couple 
of miles distance from the foot of Leith Hill, in order to get 
first to Ockley, then to Holmwood, and then to Reigate. From 
Ewhurst the first three miles was the deepest clay that I ever 
saw, to the best of my recollection. I was warned of the diffi- 
culty of getting along; but I was not to be frightened at the 
sound of clay. Wagons, too, had been dragged along the lanes 
by some means or another; and where a wagon-horse could go, 
my horse could go. It took me, however, a good hour and a 
half to get along these three miles. Now, mind, this is the real 
weald, where the clay is bottomless ; where there is no stone of 
any sort underneath, as at Worth and all along from Crawley 

212 Rural Rides 

to Billingshurst through Horsham. This clayey land is fed 
with water soaking from the sand-hills; and in this particular 
place from the immense hill of Leith. All along here the oak- 
woods are beautiful. I saw scores of acres by the roadside, 
where the young oaks stood as regularly as if they had been 
planted. The orchards are not bad along here, and, perhaps, 
they are a good deal indebted to the shelter they receive. The 
wheat very good, all through the weald, but backward. 

At Ockley I passed the house of a Mr. Steer, who has a great 
quantity of hay-land, which is very pretty. Here I came along 
the turnpike-road that leads from Dorking to Horsham. When 
I got within about two or three miles of Dorking, I turned off 
to the right, came across the Holmwood, into the lanes leading 
down to Gadbrook Common, which has of late years been 
inclosed. It is all clay here; but, in the whole of my ride, I 
have not seen much finer fields of wheat than I saw here. Out 
of these lanes I turned up to " Betchworth " (I believe it is), and 
from Betchworth came along a chalk hill to my left and the 
sand hills to my right, till I got to this place. 

Sunday, 10 August. 

I stayed at Reigate yesterday, and came to the Wen to-day, 
every step of the way in a rain ; as good a soaking as any devotee 
of St. Swithin ever underwent for his sake. I promised that I 
would give an account of the effect which the soaking on the 
South Downs, on Saturday the 2nd instant, had upon the 
hooping-cough. I do not recommend the remedy to others; 
but this I will say, that I had a spell of the hooping-cough, 
the day before I got that soaking, and that I have not had a 
single spell since; though I have slept in several different beds, 
and got a second soaking in going from Botley to Easton. The 
truth is, I believe, that rain upon the South Downs, or at any 
place near the sea, is by no means the same thing with rain in 
the interior. No man ever catches cold from getting wet with 
sea water; and, indeed, I have never known an instance of a 
man catching cold at sea. The air upon the South Downs is 
saltish, I dare say; and the clouds may bring something a little 
partaking of the nature of sea water. 

At Thursley I left the turnip-hoers poking and pulling and 
muddling about the weeds, and wholly incapable, after all, of 
putting the turnips in anything like the state in which they 
ought to be. The weeds that had been hoed up twice, were 

Hampshire and Surrey 213 

growing again, and it was the same with the turnips that had 
been hoed up. In leaving Reigate this morning, it was with 
great pleasure that I saw a field of Swedish turnips, drilled upon 
ridges at about four feet distance, the whole field as clean as the 
cleanest of garden ground. The turnips standing at equal 
distances in the row, and having the appearance of being, in 
every respect, in a prosperous state. I should not be afraid 
to bet that these turnips, thus standing in rows at nearly four 
feet distance, will be a crop twice as large as any in the parish 
of Thursley, though there is, I imagine, some of the finest 
turnip-land in the kingdom. It seems strange, that men are 
not to be convinced of the advantage of the row-culture for 
turnips. They will insist upon believing that there is some 
ground lost. They will also insist upon believing that the row- 
culture is the most expensive. How can there be ground lost 
if the crop be larger? And as to the expense, take one year 
with another, the broadcast method must be twice as expensive 
as the other. Wet as it has been to-day, I took time to look 
well about me as I came along. The wheat, even in this raga- 
muffin part of the country, is good, with the exception of one 
piece, which lies on your left hand as you come down from 
Banstead Down. It is very good at Banstead itself, though 
that is a country sufficiently poor. Just on the other side of 
Sutton there is a little good land, and in a place or two I thought 
I saw the wheat a little blighted. A labouring man told me 
that it was where the heaps of dung had been laid. The barley 
here is most beautiful, as, indeed, it is all over the country. 

Between Sutton and the Wen there is, in fact, little besides 
houses, gardens, grass plats and other matters to accommodate 
the Jews and jobbers, and the mistresses and bastards that are 
put out a-keeping. But, in a dell, which the turnpike-road 
crosses about a mile on this side of Sutton, there are two fields 
of as stiff land, I think, as I ever saw in my life. In summer 
time this land bakes so hard that they cannot plough it unless 
it be wet. W T hen you have ploughed it, and the sun comes 
again, it bakes again. One of these fields had been thus ploughed 
and cross-ploughed in the month of June, and I saw the ground 
when it was lying in lumps of the size of portmanteaus, and 
not very small ones either. It would have been impossible to 
reduce this ground to small particles, except by the means of 
sledge hammers. The two fields, to which I alluded just now, 
are alongside of this ploughed field, and they are now in wheat. 
The heavy rain of to-day, aided by the south-west wind, made 

2 14 Rural Rides 

the wheat bend pretty nearly to lying down; but you shall 
rarely see two finer fields of wheat. It is red wheat; a coarseish 
kind, and the straw stout and strong; but the ears are long, 
broad and full; and I did not perceive anything approaching 
towards a speck in the straw. Such land as this, such very stiff 
land, seldom carries a very large crop; but I should think that 
these fields would exceed four quarters to an acre; and the 
wheat is by no means so backward as it is in some places. There 
is no corn, that I recollect, from the spot just spoken of, to almost 
the street of Kensington. I came up by Earl's Court, where 
there is, amongst the market gardens, a field of wheat. One 
would suppose that this must be the finest wheat in the world. 
By no means. It rained hard, to be sure, and I had not much 
time for being particular in my survey; but this field appears 
to me to have some blight in it; and as to crop, whether of corn 
or of straw, it is nothing to compare to the general run of the 
wheat in the wealds of Sussex or of Surrey; what, then, is it, if 
compared with the wheat on the South Downs, under Portsdown 
Hill, on the sea-flats at Havant and at Tichfield, and along on 
the banks of the Itchen ! 

Thus I have concluded this " rural ride," from the Wen and 
back again to the Wen, being, taking in all the turnings and 
windings, as near as can be, two hundred miles in length. My 
objects were to ascertain the state of the crops, both of hops 
and of corn. The hop-affair is soon settled, for there will be no 
hops. As to the corn, my remark is this : that on all the clays, 
on all the stiff lands upon the chalk ; on all the rich lands, indeed, 
but more especially on all the stiff lands, the wheat is as good 
as I recollect ever to have seen it, and has as much straw. On 
all the light lands and poor lands, the wheat is thin, and, though 
not short, by no means good. The oats are pretty good almost 
everywhere; and I have not seen a bad field of barley during 
the whole of my ride; though there is no species of soil in 
England, except that of the fens, over which I have not passed. 
The state of the farmers is much worse than it was last year, 
notwithstanding the ridiculous falsehoods of the London news- 
papers, and the more ridiculous delusion of the jolterheads. 
In numerous instances the farmers, who continue in their farms, 
have ceased to farm for themselves, and merely hold the land 
for the landlords. The delusion caused by the rise of the price 
of corn has pretty nearly vanished already; and if St. Swithin 
would but get out of the way with his drippings for about a 
month, this delusion would disappear, never to return. In the 

Hampshire and Surrey 215 

meanwhile, however, the London newspapers are doing what 
they can to keep up the delusion; and in a paper called Bell's 
Weekly Messenger, edited, I am told, by a place-hunting lawyer; 
in that stupid paper of this day, I find the following passage : 
' So late as January last, the average price of wheat was 395. 
per quarter, and on the 2gth ult. it was above 625. As it has 
been rising ever since, it may now be quoted as little under 6$s. 
So that in this article alone, there is a rise of more than thirty- 
five per cent. Under these circumstances, it is not likely that 
we shall hear anything of agricultural distress. A writer of 
considerable talents, but no prophet, had frightened the kingdom 
by a confident prediction that wheat, after the ist of May, 
would sink to 45. per bushel, and that under the effects of Mr. 
Peel's bill, and the payments in cash by the Bank of England, 
it would never again exceed that price I Nay, so assured was 
Mr. Cobbett of the mathematical certainty of his deductions on 
the subject, that he did not hesitate to make use of the follow- 
ing language: ' And farther, if what I say do not come to pass. 
I will give any one leave to broil me on a gridiron, and for that 
purpose I will get one of the best gridirons I can possibly get 
made, and it shall be hung out as near to my premises as possible, 
in the Strand, so that it shall be seen by everybody as they pass 
along.' The ist of May has now passed, Mr. Peel's bill has not 
been repealed, and the Bank of England has paid its notes in 
cash, and yet wheat has risen nearly 40 per cent." 

Here is a tissue of falsehoods ! But only think of a country 
being "frightened " by the prospect of a low price of provisions ! 
When such an idea can possibly find its way even into the 
shallow brain of a cracked-skull lawyer; when such an idea 
can possibly be put into print at any rate, there must be some- 
thing totally wrong in the state of the country. Here is this 
lawyer telling his readers that I had frightened the kingdom, 
by saying that wheat would be sold at four shillings a bushel. 
Again I say, that there must be something wrong, something 
greatly out of place, some great disease at work in the community, 
or such an idea as this could never have found its way into print. 
Into the head of a cracked-skull lawyer, it might, perhaps, have 
entered at any time; but for it to find its way into print, there 
must be something in the state of society wholly out of joint. 
As to the rest of this article, it is a tissue of down-right lies. The 
writer says that the price of wheat is sixty-five shillings a quarter. 
The fact is, that on the second instant, the price was fifty-nine 
shillings and seven-pence: and it is now about two shillings less 

2 i 6 Rural Rides 

than that. Then again, this writer must know, that I never said 
that wheat would not rise above four shillings a bushel; but 
that on the contrary I always expressly said that the price would 
be affected by the seasons, and that I thought that the price 
would vibrate between three shillings a bushel and seven shillings 
a bushel. Then again, Peel's bill has, in part, been repealed; 
if it had not, there could have been no small note in circulation 
at this day. So that this lawyer is " All lie." In obedience to 
the wishes of a lady, I have been reading about the plans of Mr. 
Owen; and though I do not as yet see my way clear as to how 
we can arrange matters with regard to the young girls and the 
young fellows, I am quite clear that his institution would be 
most excellent for the disposal of the lawyers. One of his 
squares would be at a great distance from all other habitations; 
in the midst of Lord Erskine's estate for instance, mentioned by 
me in a former ride; and nothing could be so fitting, his lord- 
ship long having been called the father of the Bar ; in the midst 
of this estate, with no town or village within miles of them, we 
might have one of Mr. Owen's squares, and set the bob-tailed 
brotherhood most effectually at work. Pray, can any one 
pretend to say that a spade or shovel would not become the 
hands of this blunder-headed editor of Bell's Messenger better 
than a pen? However, these miserable falsehoods can cause 
the delusion to exist but for a very short space of time. 

The quantity of the harvest will be great. If the quality 
be bad, owing to wet weather, the price will be still lower than 
it would have been in case of dry weather. The price, therefore, 
must come down; and if the newspapers were conducted by 
men who had any sense of honour or shame, those men must 
be covered with confusion. 


Friday, 29 August, 1823. 

I HAVE so often described the soil and other matters appertain- 
ing to the country between the Wen and this place, that my 
readers will rejoice at being spared the repetition here. As to 
the harvest, however, I find that they were deluged here on 
Tuesday last, though we got but little, comparatively, at 
Kensington. Between Mitcham and Sutton they were making 
wheat-ricks. The corn has not been injured here worth notice. 
Now and then an ear in the butts grown ; and grown wheat is a 
sad thing ! You may almost as well be without wheat altogether. 
However, very little harm has been done here as yet. 

At Walton Heath I saw a man who had suffered most terribly 
from the game-laws. He saw me going by, and came out to 
tell me his story; and a horrible story it is, as the public will 
find, when it shall come regularly and fully before them. Apropos 
of game-works : I asked who was the judge at the Somersetshire 
Assizes, the other day. A correspondent tells me that it was 
Judge Burrough. I am well aware that, as this correspondent 
observes, " gamekeepers ought not to be shot at" This is not 
the point. It is not a gamekeeper in the usual sense of that 
word; it is a man seizing another without a warrant. That is 
what it is; and this, and Old Ellenborough's Act, are new things 
in England, and things of which the laws of England, " the 
birthright of Englishmen," knew nothing. Yet farmer Voke 
ought not to have shot at the gamekeeper, or seizer, without 
warrant: he ought not to have shot at him; and he would not 
had it not been for the law that put him in danger of being 
transported on the evidence of this man. So that it is, clearly, 
the terrible law that, in these cases, produces the violence. 
Yet, admire with me, reader, the singular turn of the mind of 
Sir James Mackintosh, whose whole soul appears to have been 
long bent on the " amelioration of the Penal Code," and who 
has never said one single word about this new and most terrible 
*H 638 217 

218 Rural Rides 

part of it ! Sir James, after years of incessant toil, has, I believe, 
succeeded in getting a repeal of the laws for the punishment of 
" witchcraft," of the very existence of which laws the nation was 
unacquainted. But the devil a word has he said about the 
game-laws, which put into the gaols a full third part of the 
prisoners, and to hold which prisoners the gaols have actually 
been enlarged in all parts of the country! Singular turn of 
mind! Singular "humanity!' Ah! Sir James knows very 
well what he is at. He understands the state of his constituents 
at Knaresborough too well to meddle with game-laws. He has 
a " friend," I dare say, who knows more about game-laws than 
he does. However, the poor witches are safe : thank Sir James 
for that. Mr. Carlile's sister and Mrs. Wright are in gaol, and 
may be there for life! But the poor witches are safe. No 
hypocrite; no base pretender to religion; no atrocious, savage, 
black-hearted wretch, who would murder half mankind rather 
than not live on the labours of others; no monster of this kind 
can now persecute the poor witches, thanks to Sir James, who has 
obtained security for them in all their rides through the air, 
and in all their sailings upon the horseponds ! 

Saturday, 30 August. 

I came from Worth about seven this morning, passed through 
East Grinstead, over Holthigh Common, through Ashurst, and 
thence to this place. The morning was very fine, and I left 
them at Worth making a wheat-rick. There was no show for 
rain till about one o'clock, as I was approaching Ashurst. The 
shattering that came at first I thought nothing of; but the 
clouds soon grew up all round, and the rain set in for the after- 
noon. The buildings at Ashurst (which is the first parish in 
Kent on quitting Sussex) are a mill, an alehouse, a church, and 
about six or seven other houses. I stopped at the alehouse to 
bait my horse; and, for want of bacon, was compelled to put up 
with bread and cheese for myself. I waited in vain for the rain 
to cease or to slacken, and the want of bacon made me fear as to 
a bed. So, about five o'clock, I, without greatcoat, got upon my 
horse, and came to this place, just as fast and no faster than ii 
it had been fine weather. A very fine soaking! If the South 
Dowr.s have left any little remnant of the hooping cough, this 
will take it away to be sure. I made not the least haste to get 
out of the rain, I stopped, here and there, as usual, and asked 

Sussex and Kent 219 

questions about the corn, the hops, and other things. But the 
moment I got in I got a good fire, and set about the work of dry- 
ing in good earnest. It costing me nothing for drink, I can 
afford to have plenty of fire. I have not been in the house an 
hour; and all my clothes are now as dry as if they had never 
been wet. It is not getting wet that hurts you, if you keep 
moving while you are wet. It is the suffering of yourself to be 
inactive, while the wet clothes are on your back. 

The country that I have come over to-day is a very pretty 
one. The soil is a pale yellow loam, looking like brick earth, 
but rather sandy; but the bottom is a softish stone. Now and 
then, where you go through hollow ways (as at East Grinstead) 
the sides are solid rock. And, indeed, the rocks sometimes (on 
the sides of hills) show themselves above ground, and, mixed 
amongst the woods, make very interesting objects. On the road 
from the Wen to Brighton, through Godstone and over Turner's 
Hill, and which road I crossed this morning in coming from 
Worth to East Grinstead; on that road, which goes through 
Lindfield, and which is by far the pleasantest coach-road from 
the Wen to Brighton; on the side of this road, on which coaches 
now go from the Wen to Brighton, there is a long chain of rocks, 
or, rather, rocky hills, with trees growing amongst the rocks, or 
apparently out of them, as they do in the woods near Ross in 
Herefordshire, and as they do in the Blue Mountains in America, 
where you can see no earth at all; where all seems rock, and yet 
where the trees grow most beautifully. At the place, of which I 
am now speaking, that is to say, by the side of this pleasant road 
to Brighton, and between Turner's Hill and Lindfield, there is 
a rock, which they call " Big-upon-Little ; " that is to say, a 
rock upon another, having nothing else to rest upon, and the 
top one being longer and wider than the top of the one it lies on. 
This big rock is no trifling concern, being as big, perhaps, as a 
not very small house. How, then, came this big upon little? 
What lifted up the big? It balances itself naturally enough; 
but what tossed it up ? I do not like to pay a parson for teach- 
ing me, while I have " God's own word " to teach me; but if 
any parson will tell me how big came upon little, I do not know 
that I shall grudge him a trifle. And if he cannot tell me this : 
if he say, All that we have to do is to admire and adore ; then I 
tell him, that I can admire and adore without his aid, and that 
I will keep my money in my pocket. 

To return to the soil of this country, it is such a loam as I 
have described with this stone beneath; sometimes the top soil 

22O Rural Rides 

is lighter and sometimes heavier; sometimes the stone is harder 
and sometimes softer; but this is the general character of it all 
the way from Worth to Tonbridge Wells. This land is what 
may be called the middle kind. The wheat crop about 20 to 24 
bushels to an acre, on an average of years. The grass fields not 
bad, and all the fields will grow grass; I mean make upland 
meadows. The woods good, though not of the finest. The 
land seems to be about thus divided: three-tenths woods, two- 
tenths grass, a tenth of a tenth hops, and the rest corn-land. 
These make very pretty surface, especially as it is a rarity to see 
a pollard tree, and as nobody is so beastly as to trim trees up like 
the elms near the Wen. The country has no flat spot in it; yet 
the hills are not high. My road was a gentle rise or a gentle 
descent all the way. Continual new views strike the eye; but 
there is little variety in them: all is pretty, but nothing 
strikingly beautiful. The labouring people look pretty well. 
They have pigs. They invariably do best in the woodland and 
forest and wild countries. Where the mighty grasper has all 
under his eye, they can get but little. These are cross-roads, 
mere parish roads ; but they are very good. While I was at the 
alehouse at Ashurst, I heard some labouring men talking about 
the roads; and they having observed that the parish roads had 
become so wonderfully better within the last seven or eight 
years, I put in my word, and said : " It is odd enough, too, that 
the parish roads should become better and better as the farmers 
become poorer and poorer ! ' They looked at one another, and 
put on a sort of expecting look; for my observation seemed to 
ask for information. At last one of them said, ' ' Why, it is 
because the farmers have not the money to employ men, and so 
they are put on the roads." " Yes," said I, " but they must 
pay them there." They said no more, and only looked hard at 
one another. They had, probably, never thought about this 
before. They seemed puzzled by it, and well they might, for it 
has bothered the wigs of boroughmongers, parsons and lawyers, 
and will bother them yet. Yes, this country now contains a 
body of occupiers of the land, who suffer the land to go to decay 
for want of means to pay a sufficiency of labourers; and, at the 
same time, are compelled to pay those labourers for doing that 
which is of no use to the occupiers ! There, Collective Wisdom ! 
Go: brag of that! Call that " the envy of surrounding nations 
and the admiration of the world." 

This is a great nut year. I saw them hanging very thick on 
the way-side during a great part of this day's ride; and they 

Sussex and Kent 221 

put me in mind of the old saying, " That a great nut year is a 
great year for that class whom the lawyers, in their Latin phrase, 
call the ' sons and daughters of nobody.' I once asked a 
farmer, who had often been overseer of the poor, whether he 
really thought that there was any ground for this old saying, 
or whether he thought it was mere banter? He said that he 
was sure that there were good grounds for it; and he even cited 
instances in proof, and mentioned one particular year, when 
there were four times as many of this class as ever had been born 
in a year in the parish before; an effect which he ascribed solely 
to the crop of nuts of the year before. Now, if this be the case, 
ought not Parson Malthus, Lawyer Scarlett, and the rest of that 
tribe, to turn their attention to the nut-trees? The Vice 
Society too, with that holy man Wilberforce at its head, ought 
to look out sharp after these mischievous nut-trees. A law to 
cause them all to be grubbed up, and thrown into the fire, would, 
certainly, be far less unreasonable than many things which we 
have seen and heard of. 

The corn from Worth to this place is pretty good. The 
farmers say it is a small crop; other people, and especially the 
labourers, say that it is a good crop. I think it is not large and 
not small; about an average crop; perhaps rather less, for the 
land is rather light, and this is not a year for light lands. But 
there is no blight, no mildew, in spite of all the prayers of the 
" loyal." The wheat about a third cut, and none carried. No 
other corn begun upon. Hops very bad till I came within a 
few miles of this place, when I saw some, which I should suppose, 
would bear about six hundredweight to the acre. The orchards 
no great things along here. Some apples here and there; but 
small and stunted. I do not know that I have seen to-day any 
one tree well loaded with fine apples. 

Sunday, 31 August. 

Here I am after a most delightful ride of twenty-four miles, 
through Frant, Lamberhurst, Goudhurst, Milkhouse Street, 
Benenden, and Rolvenden. By making a great stir in rousing 
waiters and " boots " and maids, and by leaving behind me the 
name of " a d d noisy, troublesome fellow," I got clear of " the 
Wells," and out of the contagion of its Wen-engendered 
inhabitants, time enough to meet the first rays of the sun, on 
the hill that you come up in order to get to Frant, which is a 
most beautiful little village at about two miles from " the 

222 Rural Rides 

Wells." Here the land belongs, I suppose, to Lord Abergavenny, 
who has a mansion and park here. A very pretty place, and 
kept, seemingly, in very nice order. I saw here what I never 
saw before: the bloom of the common heath we wholly over- 
look; but it is a very pretty thing; and here, when the planta- 
tions were made, and as they grew up, heath was left to grow on 
the sides of the roads in the plantations. The heath is not so 
much of a dwarf as we suppose. This is four feet high; and, 
being in full bloom, it makes the prettiest border that can be 
imagined. This place of Lord Abergavenny is, altogether, a 
very pretty place; and so far from grudging him the possession 
of it, I should feel pleasure at seeing it in his possession, and 
should pray God to preserve it to him, and from the unholy and 
ruthless touch of the Jews and jobbers; but I cannot forget 
this lord's sinecure I I cannot forget that he has, for doing 
nothing, received of the public money more than sufficient to 
buy such an estate as this. I cannot forget that this estate may, 
perhaps, have actually been bought with that money. Not 
being able to forget this, and with my mind filled with reflections 
of this sort, I got up to the church at Frant, and just by I saw a 
School-house with this motto on it: " Train up a child as he 
should walk," etc. That is to say, try to breed up the boys and 
girls of this village in such a way that they may never know 
anything about Lord Abergavenny's sinecure; or, knowing 
about it, that they may think it right that he should roll in wealth 
coming to him in such a way. The projectors deceive nobody 
but themselves ! They are working for the destruction of their 
own system. In looking back over " the Wells " I cannot but 
admire the operation of the gambling system. This little toad- 
stool is a thing created entirely by the gamble; and the means 
have, hitherto, come out of the wages of labour. These means 
are now coming out of the farmer's capital and out of the land- 
lord's estate; the labourers are stripped ; they can give no more ; 
the saddle is now fixing itself upon the right back. 

In quitting Frant I descended into a country more woody 
than that behind me. I asked a man whose fine woods those 
were that I pointed to, and I fairly gave a start when he said, 
the Marquis Camden's. Milton talks of the Leviathan in a way 
to make one draw in one's shoulders with fear; and I appeal to 
any one, who has been at sea when a whale has come near the 
ship, whether he has not, at the first sight of the monster, made 
a sort of involuntary movement, as if to get out of the way. Such 
was the movement that I now made. However, soon coming 

Sussex and Kent 223 

to myself, on I walked my horse by the side of my pedestrian 
informant. It is Bayham Abbey that this great and awful 
sinecure placeman owns in this part of the county. Another 
great estate he owns near Sevenoaks. But here alone he spreads 
his length and breadth over more, they say, than ten or twelve 
thousand acres of land, great part of which consists of oak-woods. 
But, indeed, what estates might he not purchase? Not much 
less than thirty years he held a place, a sinecure place, that 
yielded him about thirty thousand pounds a-year ! At any rate, 
he, according to Parliamentary accounts, has received, of public 
money, little short of a million of guineas. These, at 30 guineas 
an acre, would buy thirty thousand acres of land. And what 
did he have all this money for ? Answer me that question, 
Wilberforce, you who called him a " bright star," when he gave 
up a part of his enormous sinecure. He gave up all but the 
trifling sum of nearly three thousand pounds a-year! What a 
bright star! And when did he give it up ? When the Radicals 
had made the country ring with it. When his name was, by 
their means, getting into every mouth in the kingdom; when 
every radical speech and petition contained the name of Camden. 
Then it was, and not till then, that this " bright star," let fall 
part of its " brilliancy." So that Wilberforce ought to have 
thanked the Radicals, and not Camden. When he let go his 
grasp, he talked of the merits of his father. His father was a 
lawyer, who was exceedingly well paid for what he did without 
a million of money being given to his son. But there is some- 
thing rather out of common-place to be observed about this 
father. This father was the contemporary of Yorke, who 
became Lord Hardwicke. Pratt and Yorke, and the merit of 
Pratt was, that he was constantly opposed to the principles of 
Yorke. Yorke was called a Tory and Pratt a Whig ; but the 
devil of it was, both got to be lords ; and, in one shape or another, 
the families of both have, from that day to this, been receiving 
great parcels of the public money! Beautiful system! The 
Tories were for rewarding Yorke ; the Whigs were for rewarding 
Pratt. The ministers (all in good time !) humoured both parties ; 
and the stupid people, divided into tools of two factions, actually 
applauded, now one part of them, and now the other part of 
them, the squandering away of their substance. They were 
like the man and his wife in the fable who, to spite one another, 
gave away to the cunning mumper the whole of their dinner 
bit by bit. This species of folly is over at any rate. The people 
are no longer fools enough to be partisans. They make no 

224 Rural Rides 

distinctions. The nonsense about " court party " and " country 
party " is at an end. Who thinks anything more of the name 
of Erskine than of that of Scott ? As the people told the two 
factions at Maidstone, when they, with Camden at their head, 
met to congratulate the Regent on the marriage of his daughter, 
" they are all tarred with the same brush; " and tarred with the 
same brush they must be, until there be a real reform of the 
parliament. However, the people are no longer deceived. They 
are not duped. They know that the thing is that which it is. 
The people of the present day would laugh at disputes (carried 
on with so much gravity !) about the principles of Pratt and the 
principles of Yorke. " You are all tarred with the same brush," 
said the sensible people of Maidstone; and, in those words, they 
expressed the opinion of the whole country, boroughmongers 
and tax-eaters excepted. 

The country from Frant to Lamberhurst is very woody. I 
should think five-tenths woods and three grass. The corn, 
what there is of it, is about the same as farther back. I saw a 
hop-garden just before I got to Lamberhurst, which will have 
about two or three hundredweight to the acre. This Lamber- 
hurst is a very pretty place. It lies in a valley with beautiful 
hills round it. The pastures about here are very fine; and the 
roads are as smooth and as handsome as those in Windsor Park. 

From the last-mentioned place I had three miles to come to 
Goudhurst, the tower of the church of which is pretty lofty of 
itself, and the church stands upon the very summit of one of the 
steepest and highest hills in this part of the country. The 
church-yard has a view of about twenty-five miles in diameter; 
and the whole is over a very fine country, though the character of 
the country differs little from that which I have before described. 

Before I got to Goudhurst, I passed by the side of a village 
called Horsenden, and saw some very large hop-grounds away to 
my right. I should suppose there were fifty acres; and they 
appeared to me to look pretty well. I found that they belonged 
to a Mr. Springate, and people say that it will grow half as 
many hops as he grew last year, while people in general will not 
grow a tenth part so many. This hop growing and dealing 
have always been a gamble ; and this puts me in mind of the 
horrible treatment which Mr. Waddington received on account of 
what was called his forestalling in hops! It is useless to talk: 
as long as that gentleman remains uncompen sated for his suffer- 
ings, there can be no hope of better days. Ellenborough was 
his counsel; he afterwards became judge; but nothing was 

Sussex and Kent 225 

ever done to undo what Kenyon had done. However, Mr. 
Waddington will, I trust, yet live to obtain justice. He has, 
in the meanwhile, given the thing now and then a blow; and 
he has the satisfaction to see it reel about like a drunken man. 
I got to Goudhurst to breakfast, and as I heard that the Dean 
of Rochester was to preach a sermon in behalf of the National 
Schools, I stopped to hear him. In waiting for his reverence I 
went to the Methodist Meeting-house, where I found the Sunday 
school boys and girls asembled, to the almost filling of the place, 
which was about thirty feet long and eighteen wide. The 
" minister " was not come, and the schoolmaster was reading 
to the children out of a tract-book, and shaking the brimstone 
bag at them most furiously. This schoolmaster was a sleek- 
looking young fellow: his skin perfectly tight: well fed, I'll 
warrant him : and he has discovered the way of living, without 
work, on the labour of those that do work. There were 36 little 
fellows in smock-frocks, and about as many girls listening to 
him; and I dare say he eats as much meat as any ten of them. 
By this time the dean, I thought, would be coming on; and, 
therefore, to the church I went; but to my great disappoint- 
ment, I found that the parson was operating preparatory to the 
appearance of the dean, who was to come on in the afternoon, 
when I, agreeably to my plan, must be off. The sermon was 
from 2 Chronicles xxxi. 21., and the words of this text described 
King Hezekiah as a most zealous man, doing whatever he did 
with all his heart. I write from memory, mind, and, therefore, 
I do not pretend to quote exact words; and I may be a little 
in error, perhaps, as to chapter or verse. The object of the 
preacher was to hold up to his hearers the example of Hezekiah, 
and particularly in the case of the school affair. He called upon 
them to subscribe with all their hearts; but, alas! how little of 
persuasive power was there in what he said ! No effort to make 
them see the use of the schools. No inducement proved to exist. 
No argument, in short, nor anything to move. No appeal either 
to the reason, or to the feeling. All was general, commonplace, 
cold observation; and that, too, in language which the far 
greater part of the hearers could not understand. This church 
is about no feet long and 70 feet wide in the clear. It would 
hold three thousand people, and it had in it 214, besides 53 
Sunday School or National School boys; and these sat together, 
in a sort of lodge, up in a corner, 16 feet long and 10 feet wide. 
Now, will any Parson Malthus, or anybody else, have the im- 
pudence to tell me that this church was built for the use of a 

226 Rural Rides 

population not more numerous than the present? To be sure, 
when this church was built, there could be no idea of a Methodist 
meeting coming to assist the church, and as little, I dare say, 
was it expected that the preachers in the church would ever 
call upon the faithful to subscribe money to be sent up to one 
Joshua Watson (living in a Wen) to be by him laid out in " pro- 
moting Christian knowledge; " but, at any rate, the Methodists 
cannot take away above four or five hundred ; and what, then, 
was this great church built for, if there were no more people, in 
those days, at Goudhurst, than there are now ? It is very true 
that the labouring people have, in a great measure, ceased to go 
to church. There were scarcely any of that class at this great 
country church to-day. I do not believe there were ten. I can 
remember when they were so numerous that the parson could 
not attempt to begin till the rattling of their nailed shoes ceased. 
I have seen, I am sure, five hundred boys and men in smock- 
frocks coming out of church at one time. To-day has been a 
fine day: there would have been many at church to-day, ii 
ever there are; and here I have another to add to the many 
things that convince me that the labouring classes have, in great 
part, ceased to go to church; that their way of thinking and 
feeling with regard to both church and clergy are totally changed ; 
and that there is now very little moral hold which the latter 
possess. This preaching for money to support the schools is a 
most curious affair altogether. The king sends a circular letter 
to the bishops (as I understand it) to cause subscriptions for the 
schools; and the bishops (if I am rightly told) tell the parish 
clergy to send the money, when collected, to Joshua Watson, the 
treasurer of a society in the Wen, " for promoting Christian 
knowledge!' What! the church and all its clergy put into 
motion to get money from the people, to send up to one Joshua 
Watson, a wine-merchant, or late a wine-merchant, in Mincing 
Lane, Fenchurch Street, London, in order that the said wine- 
merchant may apply the money to the " promoting of Christian 
knowledge ! ' What ! all the deacons, priests, curates perpetual . 
vicars, rectors, prebends, doctors, deans, archdeacons and 
fathers in God, right reverend and most reverend; all! yea all, 
engaged in getting money together to send to a wine-merchant 
that he may lay it out in the promoting of Christian knowledge 
in their own flocks I Oh, brave wine-merchant! What a prince 
of godliness must this wine-merchant be ! I say wine-merchant, 
or late wine-merchant, of Mincing Lane, Fenchurch Street, 
London. And, for God's sake, some good parson, do send me up 

Sussex and Kent 227 

a copy of the king's circular, and also of the bishop's order to 
send the money to Joshua Watson; for some precious sport we 
will have with Joshua and his " society " before we have done 
with them ! 

After " service " I mounted my horse and jogged on through 
Milkhouse Street to Benenden, where I passed through the estate, 
and in sight of the house of Mr. Hodges. He keeps it very neat 
and has planted a good deal. His ash do very well; but the 
chesnut do not, as it seems to me. He ought to have the Ameri- 
can chesnut, if he have any. If I could discover an everlasting 
hop-pole, and one, too, that would grow faster even than the ash, 
would not these Kentish hop-planters put me in the Kalendar 
along with their famous Saint Thomas of Canterbury? We 
shall see this, one of these days. 

Coming through the village of Benenden, I heard a man at 
my right talking very loud about houses I houses I houses ! 
It was a Methodist parson, in a house close by the road side. 
I pulled up, and stood still, in the middle of the road, but look- 
ing, in silent soberness, into the window (which was open) of 
the room in which the preacher was at work. I believe my 
stopping rather disconcerted him; for he got into shocking 
repetition. " Do you know" said he, laying great stress on the 
word know : " do you know, that you have ready for you 
houses, houses I say; I say do you know ; do you know that you 
have houses in the heavens not made with hands? Do you 
know this from experience ? Has the blessed Jesus told you so ? ' 
And on he went to say that, if Jesus had told them so, they 
would be saved, and that if he had not, and did not, they would 
be damned. Some girls whom I saw in the room, plump and 
rosy as could be, did not seem at all daunted by these menaces; 
and indeed, they appeared to me to be thinking much more 
about getting houses for themselves in this world first ; just to 
see a little before they entered, or endeavoured to enter, or even 
thought much about, those " houses " of which the parson was 
speaking: houses with pig-styes and little snug gardens attached 
to them, together with all the other domestic and conjugal cir- 
cumstances, these girls seemed to me to be preparing themselves 
for. The truth is, these fellows have no power on the minds of 
any but the miserable. 

Scarcely had I proceeded a hundred yards from the place 
where this fellow was bawling, when I came to the very situation 
which he ought to have occupied, I mean the stocks, which the 
people of Benenden have, with singular humanity, fitted up with 

228 Rural Rides 

a bench, so that the patient, while he is receiving the benefit of 
the remedy, is not exposed to the danger of catching cold by 
sitting, as in other places, upon the ground, always damp, and 
sometimes actually wet. But I would ask the people of 
Benenden what is the use of this humane precaution, and, indeed, 
what is the use of the stocks themselves, if, while a fellow is 
ranting and bawling in the manner just described, at the 
distance of a hundred yards from the stocks, the stocks (as is 
here actually the case) are almost hidden by grass and nettles? 
This, however, is the case all over the country; not nettles and 
grass indeed smothering the stocks, but I never see any feet 
peeping through the holes, anywhere, though I find Methodist 
parsons everywhere, and though the law compels the parishes to 
keep up all the pairs of stocks that exist in all parts of them; 
and, in some parishes, they have to keep up several pairs. I 
am aware that a good part of the use of the stocks is the terror 
they ought to produce. I am not supposing that they are of 
no use because not continually furnished with legs. But there 
is a wide difference between always and never ; and it is clear 
that a fellow, who has had the stocks under his eye all his lifetime, 
and has never seen a pair of feet peeping through them, will stand 
no more in awe of the stocks than rooks do of an old shoy-hoy, 
or than the ministers or their agents do of Hobhouse and Burdett. 
Stocks that never pinch a pair of ankles are like ministerial re- 
sponsibility; a thing to talk about, but for no other use ; a mere 
mockery; a thing laughed at by those whom it is intended to 
keep in check. It is time that the stocks were again in use, or 
that the expense of keeping them up were put an end to. 

This mild, this gentle, this good-humoured sort of correction 
is not enough for our present rulers. But mark the consequence ; 
gaols ten times as big as formerly; houses of correction; tread- 
mills; the hulks; and the country filled with spies of one sort 
and another, game-spies, or other spies, and if a hare or pheasant 
come to an untimely death, police-officers from the Wen are not 
unfrequently called down to find out and secure the bloody 
offender ! Mark this, Englishmen ! Mark how we take to those 
things, which we formerly ridiculed in the French; and take 
them up too just as that brave and spirited people have shaken 
them off ! I saw, not long ago, an account of a Wen police-officer 
being sent into the country, where he assumed a disguise, joined 
some poachers (as they are called), got into their secrets, went 
out in the night with them, and then (having laid his plans with 
the game-people) assisted to take them and convict them. 

Sussex and Kent 22Q 

What! is this England 1 Is this the land of " manly hearts? ' 
Is this the country that laughed at the French for their sub- 
missions? What! are police-officers kept for this? Does the 
law say so? However, thank God Almighty the estates are 
passing away into the hands of those who have had borrowed 
from them the money to uphold this monster of a system. The 
Debt! The blessed Debt will, at last, restore to us freedom. 

Just after I quitted Benenden, I saw some bunches of straw 
lying upon the quickset hedge of a cottage garden. I found, 
upon inquiry, that they were bunches of the straw of grass. 
Seeing a face through the window of the cottage, I called out and 
asked what that straw was for. The person within said, it was 
to make Leghorn-plat with. I asked him (it was a young man) 
how he knew how to do it. He said he had got a little book 
that had been made by Mr. Cobbett. I told him that I was the 
man, and should like to see some of his work; and asked him to 
bring it out to me, I being afraid to tie my horse. He told me 
that he was a cripple, and that he could not come out. At last 
I went in, leaving my horse to be held by a little girl. I found 
a young man, who has been a cripple for fourteen years. Some 
ladies in the neighbourhood had got him the book, and his 
family had got him the grass. He had made some very nice 
plat, and he had knitted the greater part of the crown of a 
bonnet, and had done the whole very nicely, though, as to the 
knitting, he had proceeded in a way to make it very tedious. 
He was knitting upon a block. However, these little matters 
will soon be set to rights. There will soon be persons to teach 
knitting in all parts of the country. I left this unfortunate 
young man with the pleasing reflection that I had, in all likeli- 
hood, been the cause of his gaining a good living, by his labour, 
during the rest of his life. How long will it be before my 
calumniators, the false and infamous London press, will take 
the whole of it together, and leave out its evil, do as much good 
as my pen has done in this one instance ! How long will it be ere 
the ruffians, the base hirelings, the infamous traders who own and 
who conduct that press; how long ere one of them, or all of them 
together, shall cause a cottage to smile ; shall add one ounce to 
the meal of the labouring man ! 

Rolvenden was my next village, and thence I could see the 
lofty church of Tenterden on the top of a hill at three miles 
distance. This Rolvenden is a very beautiful village; and, 
indeed, such are all the places along here. These villages are 
not like those in the iron counties, as I call them; that is, the 

230 Rural Rides 

counties of flint and chalk. Here the houses have gardens in 
front of them as well as behind; and there is a good deal of show 
and finery about them and their gardens. The high roads are 
without a stone in them; and everything looks like gentility. 
At this place, I saw several arbutuses in one garden, and much 
finer than we see them in general; though, mind, this is no proof 
of a mild climate; for the arbutus is a native of one much colder 
than that of England, and indeed than that of Scotland. 

Coming from Benenden to Rolvenden I saw some Swedish 
turnips, and, strange as the reader will think it, the first I saw 
after leaving Worth! The reason I take to be this: the farms 
are all furnished with grass fields as in Devonshire about Honiton. 
These grass fields give hay for the sheep and cattle in winter, or, 
at any rate, they do all that is not done by the white turnips. 
It may be a question, whether it would be more profitable to 
break up, and sow swedes; but this is the reason of their not 
being cultivated along here. White turnips are more easily 
got than swedes; they may be sown later; and, with good hay, 
they will fat cattle and sheep; but the swedes will do this 
business without hay. In Norfolk and Suffolk the land is not 
generally of a nature to make hay-fields. Therefore the people 
there resort to swedes. This has been a sad time for these hay- 
farmers, however, all along here. They have but just finished 
haymaking; and I see, all along my way, from East Grinstead 
to this place, hay-ricks the colour of dirt and smoking like dung- 

Just before I got to this place (Tenterden), I crossed a bit of 
marsh land, which I found, upon inquiry, is a sort of little 
branch or spray running out of that immense and famous tract 
of country called Romney Marsh, which, I find, I have to cross 
to-morrow, in order to get to Dover, along by the seaside, 
through Hythe and Folkestone. 

This Tenterden is a market town, and a singularly bright 
spot. It consists of one street, which is, in some places, more, 
perhaps, than two hundred feet wide. On one side of the street 
the houses have gardens before them, from 20 to 70 feet deep. 
The town is upon a hill; the afternoon was very fine, and just 
as I rose the hill and entered the street, the people had come 
out of church and were moving along towards their houses. It 
was a very fine sight. Shabbily-dressed people do not go to church. 
I saw, in short, drawn out before me, the dress and beauty of the 
town; and a great many very, very pretty girls I saw; and 
saw them, too, in their best attire. I remember the girls in the 

Sussex and Kent 231 

Pays de Caux, and, really, I think those of Tenterden resemble 
them. I do not know why they should not; for there is the Pays 
de Caux, only just over the water; just opposite this very place. 

The hops about here are not so very bad. They say that one 
man, near this town, will have eight tons of hops upon ten acres 
of land ! This is a great crop any year: a very great crop. This 
man may, perhaps, sell his hops for 1600 pounds! What a 
gambling concern it is ! However, such hop-growing always 
was and always must be. It is a thing of perfect hazard. 

The church at this place is a very large and fine old building. 
The tower stands upon a base thirty feet square. Like the 
church at Goudhurst, it will hold three thousand people. And, 
let it be observed, that, when these churches were built, people 
had not yet thought of cramming them with pews, as a stable 
is filled with stalls. Those who built these churches had no 
idea that worshipping God meant going to sit to hear a man 
talk out what he called preaching. By worship, they meant 
very different things; and, above all things, when they had 
made a fine and noble building, they did not dream of disfiguring 
the inside of it by filling its floor with large and deep boxes 
made of deal boards. In short, the floor was the place for the 
worshippers to stand or to kneel; and there was no distinction ; 
no high place and no low place; all were upon a level before God 
at any rate. Some were not stuck into pews lined with green 
or red cloth, while others were crammed into corners to stand 
erect, or sit on the floor. These odious distinctions are of 
Protestant origin and growth. This lazy lolling in pews we owe 
to what is called the Reformation. A place filled with benches 
and boxes looks like an eating or a drinking place; but certainly 
not like a place of worship. A Frenchman, who had been driven 
from St. Domingo to Philadelphia by the Wilberforces of France, 
went to church along with me one Sunday. He had never been 
in a Protestant place of worship before. Upon looking round 
him, and seeing everybody comfortably seated, while a couple 
of good stoves were keeping the place as warm as a slack oven, 
he exclaimed: " Pardi I On serf Dieu bien a son aise id I" 
That is : " Egad ! they serve God very much at their ease here ! " 
I always think of this, when I see a church full of pews; as, in- 
deed, is now always the case with our churches. Those who 
built these churches had no idea of this: they made their cal- 
culations as to the people to be contained in them, not making 
any allowance for deal boards. I often wonder how it is that the 
present parsons are not ashamed to call the churches theirs I They 

232 Rural Rides 

must know the origin of them; and how they can look at them, 
and, at the same time, revile the Catholics, is astonishing to me. 
This evening I have been to the Methodist Meeting-house. 
I was attracted, fairly drawn all down the street, by the singing. 
When I came to the place the parson was got into prayer. His 
hands were clenched together and held up, his face turned up 
and back so as to be nearly parallel with the ceiling, and he was 
bawling away with his " do thou," and " mayest thou," and 
' may we," enough to stun one. Noisy, however, as he was, 
he was unable to fix the attention of a parcel of girls in the 
gallery, whose eyes were all over the place, while his eyes were 
so devoutly shut up. After a deal of this rigmarole called 
prayer, came the preachy, as the negroes call it; and a preachy 
it really was. Such a mixture of whining cant and of foppish 
affectation I scarcely ever heard in my life. The text was (I 
speak from memory) one of Saint Peter's epistles (if he have 
more than one) the i8th chapter and 4th verse. The words 
were to this amount: that, as the righteous would be saved with 
difficulty, what must become of the ungodly and the sinner I After 
as neat a dish of nonsense and of impertinences as one could 
wish to have served up, came the distinction between the ungodly 
and the sinner. The sinner was one who did moral wrong; the 
ungodly, one who did no moral wrong, but who was not re- 
generated. Both, he positively told us, were to be damned. 
One was just as bad as the other. Moral rectitude was to do 
nothing in saving the man. He was to be damned, unless born 
again, and how was he to be born again, unless he came to the 
regeneration shop, and gave the fellows money? He distinctly 
told us that a man perfectly moral might be damned; and 
that " the vilest of the vile, and the basest of the base " (I quote 
his very words) " would be saved if they became regenerate; 
and that colliers, whose souls had been as black as their coals, 
had by regeneration become bright as the saints that sing before 
God and the Lamb." And will the Edinburgh Reviewers again 
find fault with me for cutting at this bawling, canting crew? 
Monstrous it is to think that the clergy of the church really 
encourage these roving fanatics. The church seems aware of its 
loss of credit and of power. It seems willing to lean even upon 
these men; who, be it observed, seem, on their part, to have 
taken the church under their protection. They always pray 
for the Ministry ; I mean the ministry at Whitehall. They are 
most " loyal " souls. The THING protects them ; and they lend 
their aid in upholding the THING. What silly, nay, what base 

Sussex and Kent 233 

creatures those must be, who really give their money, give their 
pennies, which ought to buy bread for their own children; who 
thus give their money to these lazy and impudent fellows, who 
call themselves ministers of God, who prowl about the country 
living easy and jovial lives upon the fruit of the labour of other 
people. However, it is, in some measure, these people's fault. 
If they did not give, the others could not receive. I wish to see 
every labouring man well fed and well clad ; but, really, the man 
who gives any portion of his earnings to these fellows deserves 
to want: he deserves to be pinched with hunger: misery is the 
just reward of this worst species of prodigality. 

The singing makes a great part of what passes in these meeting- 
houses. A number of women and girls singing together make 
very sweet sounds. Few men there are who have not felt the 
power of sounds of this sort. Men are sometimes pretty nearly 
bewitched without knowing how. Eyes do a good deal, but 
tongues do more. We may talk of sparkling eyes and snowy 
bosoms as long as we please ; but what are these with a croaking, 
masculine voice? The parson seemed to be fully aware of the 
importance of this part of the " service." The subject of his 
hymn was something about love : Christian love; love of Jesus; 
but still it was about love ; and the parson read, or gave out, 
the verses, in a singularly soft and sighing voice, with his head 
on one side, and giving it rather a swing. I am satisfied that 
the singing forms great part of the attraction. Young girls like 
to sing; and young men like to hear them. Nay, old ones too; 
and, as I have just said, it was the singing that drew me three 
hundred yards down the street at Tenterden, to enter this 
meeting-house. By the by, I wrote some hymns myself, and 
published them in " Twopenny Trash." I will give any Metho- 
dist parson leave to put them into his hymn book. 


Monday (Noon}, i Sept. 

I have had a fine ride, and I suppose the Quakers have had 
a fine time of it at Mark Lane. 

From Tenterden I set off at five o'clock, and got to Appledore 
after a most delightful ride, the high land upon my right, and 
the low land on my left. The fog was so thick and white along 
some of the low land that I should have taken it for water, if 
little hills and trees had not risen up through it here and there. 
Indeed, the view was very much like those which are presented 
in the deep valleys, near the great rivers in New Brunswick 

234 Rural Rides 

(North America) at the time when the snows melt in the spring, 
and when, in sailing over those valleys, you look down from 
the side of your canoe, and see the lofty woods beneath you ! 
I once went in a log canoe across a sylvan sea of this description, 
the canoe being paddled by two Yankees. We started in a 
stream; the stream became a wide water, and that water got 
deeper and deeper, as I could see by the trees (all was woods), 
till we got to sail amongst the top branches of the trees. By and 
by we got into a large open space; a piece of water a mile or 
two, or three or four wide, with the woods under us I A fog, with 
the tops of trees rising through it, is very much like this; and 
such was the fog that I saw this morning in my ride to Appledore. 
The church at Appledore is very large. Big enough to hold 
3000 people; and the place does not seem to contain half a 
thousand old enough to go to church. 

In coming along I saw a wheat-rick making, though I hardly 
think the wheat can be dry under the bands. The corn is all 
good here; and I am told they give twelve shillings an acre 
for reaping wheat. 

In quitting this Appledore I crossed a canal and entered on 
Romney Marsh. This was grass-land on both sides of me to 
a great distance. The flocks and herds immense. The sheep 
are of a breed that takes its name from the marsh. They are 
called Romney Marsh sheep. Very pretty and large. The 
wethers, when fat, weigh about twelve stone, or one hundred 
pounds. The faces of these sheep are white; and, indeed, the 
whole sheep is as white as a piece of writing-paper. The wool 
does not look dirty and oily like that of other sheep. The 
cattle appear to be all of the Sussex breed. Red, loosed-limbed, 
and, they say, a great deal better than the Devonshire. How 
curious is the natural economy of a country ! The forests of 
Sussex; those miserable tracts of heath and fern and bushes 
and sand called Ashdown Forest and Saint Leonard's Forest, 
to which latter Lord Erskine's estate belongs; these wretched 
tracts and the not much less wretched farms in their neighbour- 
hood, breed the cattle which we see fatting in Romney Marsh ! 
They are calved in the spring; they are weaned in a little bit 
of grass-land ; they are then put into stubbles and about in the 
fallows for the first summer; they are brought into the yard 
to winter on rough hay, peas-haulm, or barley-straw; the next 
two summers they spend in the rough woods or in the forests; 
the two winters they live on straw; they then pass another 
summer on the forest or at work ; and then they come here or go 

Sussex and Kent 235 

elsewhere to be fatted. With cattle of this kind and with sheep 
such as I have spoken of before, this Marsh abounds in every 
part of it; and the sight is most beautiful. 

At three miles from Appledore I came through Snargate, a 
village with five houses, and with a church capable of containing 
two thousand people ! The vagabonds tell us, however, that we 
have a wonderful increase of population! These vagabonds 
will be hanged by and by, or else justice will have fled from the 
face of the earth. 

At Brenzett (a mile further on) I with great difficulty got a 
rasher of bacon for breakfast. The few houses that there are, 
are miserable in the extreme. The church here (only a mile 
from the last) nearly as large; and nobody to go to it. What! 
will the vagabonds attempt to make us believe that these 
churches were built for nothing I " Dark ages " indeed those 
must have been, if these churches were erected without there 
being any more people than there are now. But who built 
them ? Where did the means, where did the hands come from ? 
This place presents another proof of the truth of my old observa- 
tion: rich land and poor labourers. From the window of the 
house in which I could scarcely get a rasher of bacon, and not 
an egg, I saw numberless flocks and herds fatting, and the fields 
loaded with corn ! 

The next village, which was two miles further on, was Old 
Romney, and along here I had, for great part of the way, corn- 
fields on one side of me and grass-land on the other. I asked 
what the amount of the crop of wheat would be. They told 
me better than five quarters to the acre. I thought so myself. 
I have a sample of the red wheat and another of the white. 
They are both very fine. They reap the wheat here nearly two 
feet from the ground ; and even then they cut it three feet long ! I 
never saw corn like this before. It very far exceeds the corn under 
Portsdown Hill, that at Gosport and Tichfield. They have here 
about eight hundred large, very large, sheaves to an acre. I 
wonder how long it will be after the end of the world before 
Mr. Birkbeck will see the American " Prairies " half so good as 
this Marsh. In a garden here I saw some very fine onions, and 
a prodigious crop; sure sign of most excellent land. At this 
Old Romney there is a church (two miles only from the last 
mind !) fit to contain one thousand five hundred people, and 
there are for the people of the parish to live in twenty-two or 
twenty-three houses! And yet the vagabonds have the im- 
pudence to tell us, that the population of England has vastly 

2 3 6 

Rural Rides 

increased! Curious system that depopulates Romney Marsh 
and peoples Bagshot Heath ! It is an unnatural system. It is 
the vagabond's system. It is a system that must be destroyed, 
or that will destroy the country. 

The rotten borough of New Romney came next in my way; 
and here, to my great surprise, I found myself upon the sea- 
beach; for I had not looked at a map of Kent for years, and 
perhaps, never. I had got a list of places from a friend in 
Sussex, whom I asked to give me a route to Dover, and to send 
me through those parts of Kent which he thought would be most 
interesting to me. Never was I so much surprised as when I 
saw a sail. This place, now that the squanderings of the THING 
are over, is, they say, become miserably poor. 

From New Romney to Dimchurch is about four miles: all 
along I had the sea-beach on my right, and, on my left, some- 
times grass-land and sometimes corn-land. They told me here, 
and also further back in the Marsh, that they were to have 155. 
an acre for reaping wheat. 

From Dimchurch to Hythe you go on the sea beach, and nearly 
the same from Hythe to Sandgate, from which last place you 
come over the hill to Folkestone. But let me look back. Here 
has been the squandering! Here has been the pauper-making 
work! Here we see some of these causes that are now sending 
some farmers to the workhouse and driving others to flee the 
country or to cut their throats ! 

I had baited my horse at New Romney, and was coming 
jogging along very soberly, now looking at the sea, then look- 
ing at the cattle, then the corn, when my eye, in swinging 
round, lighted upon a great round building, standing upon the 
beach. I had scarcely had time to think about what it could 
be, when twenty or thirty others, standing along the coast, 
caught my eye; and if any one had been behind me, he might 
have heard me exclaim, in a voice that made my horse bound, 

" The Marietta Towers by ! ' Oh, Lord! To think that I 

should be destined to behold these monuments of the wisdom 
of Pitt and Dundas and Perceval ! Good God ! Here they are, 
piles of bricks in a circular form about three hundred feet (guess) 
circumference at the base, about forty feet high, and about one 
hundred and fifty feet circumference at the top. There is a 
door-way, about midway up, in each, and each has two windows. 
Cannons were to be fired from the top of these things, in order 
to defend the country against the French Jacobins ! 

I think I have counted along here upwards of thirty of these 

Sussex and Kent 237 

ridiculous things, which I dare say cost five, perhaps ten, 
thousand pounds each; and one of which was, I am told, sold 
on the coast of Sussex, the other day, for two hundred pounds ! 
There is, they say, a chain of these things all the way to Hastings ! 
I dare say they cost millions. But far indeed are these from 
being all, or half, or a quarter of the squanderings along here. 
Hythe is half barracks ; the hills are covered with barracks;; and 
barracks most expensive, most squandering, fill up the side of 
the hill. Here is a canal (I crossed it at Appledore) made for 
the length of thirty miles (from Hythe, in Kent, to Rye, in 
Sussex) to keep out the French ; for those armies who had so 
often crossed the Rhine and the Danube, were to be kept back 
by a canal, made by Pitt, thirty feet wide at the most! All 
along the coast there are works of some sort or other; incessant 
sinks of money; walls of immense dimensions; masses of stone 
brought and put into piles. Then you see some of the walls 
and buildings falling down; some that have never been finished. 
The whole thing, all taken together, looks as if a spell had been, 
all of a sudden, set upon the workmen ; or, in the words of the 
Scripture, here is the " desolation of abomination, standing in high 
places.'" However, all is right. These things were made with 
the hearty good will of those who are now coming to ruin in 
consequence of the debt, contracted for the purpose of making 
these things! This is all just. The load will come, at last, 
upon the right shoulders. 

Between Hythe and Sandgate (a village at about two miles 
from Hythe) I first saw the French coast. The chalk cliffs at 
Calais are as plain to the view as possible, and also the land, which 
they tell me is near Boulogne. 

Folkestone lies under a hill here, as Reigate does in Surrey, 
only here the sea is open to your right as you come along. The 
corn is very early here, and very fine. All cut, even the beans; 
and they will be ready to cart in a day or two. Folkestone is 
now a little place; probably a quarter part as big as it was 
formerly. Here is a church one hundred and twenty feet long 
and fifty feet wide. It is a sort of little cathedral. The church- 
yard has evidently been three times as large as it is now. 

Before I got into Folkestone I saw no less than eighty-four 
men, women, and boys and girls gleaning or leasing in a field 
of about ten acres. The people all along here complain most 
bitterly of the change of times. The truth is that the squandered 
millions are gone ! The nation has now to suffer for this squan- 
dering. The money served to silence some; to make others 

2 3 8 

Rural Rides 

bawl ; to cause the good to be oppressed ; to cause the bad to be 
exalted; to "crush the Jacobins": and what is the result? 
What is the end ? The end is not yet come; but as to the result 
thus far, go, ask the families of those farmers, who, after having, 
for so many years, threatened to shoot Jacobins, have, in 
instances not a few, shot themselves! Go, ask the ghosts of 
Pitt and of Castlereagh what has, thus far, been the result! 
Go, ask the Hampshire farmer, who, not many months since, 
actually blowed out his own brains with one of those very pistols 
which he had long carried in his yeomanry cavalry holsters, to 
be ready " to keep down the Jacobins and Radicals ! " O 
God! inscrutable are thy ways; but thou art just, and of thy 
justice what a complete proof have we in the case of these very 
martello towers! They were erected to keep out the Jacobin 
French, lest they should come and assist the Jacobin English. 
The loyal people of this coast were fattened by the building of 
them. Pitt and his loyal Cinque Ports waged interminable war 
against Jacobins. These very towers are now used to keep these 
loyal Cinque Ports themselves in order. These towers are now 
used to lodge men, whose business it is to sally forth, not upon 
Jacobins, but upon smugglers I Thus, after having sucked up 
millions of the nation's money, these loyal Cinque Ports are 
squeezed again: kept in order, kept down, by the very towers 
which they rejoiced to see rise to keep down the Jacobins. 


Monday, i Sept., Evening. 

I got here this evening about six o'clock, having come to-day 
thirty-six miles; but I must defer my remarks on the country 
between Folkestone and this place; a most interesting spot, 
and well worthy of particular attention. What place I shall 
date from after Dover I am by no means certain; but be it 
from what place it may, the continuation of my journal shall 
be published, in due course. If the Atlantic Ocean could not 
cut off the communication between me and my readers, a mere 
strip of water, not much wider than an American river, will 
hardly do it. I am, in real truth, undecided, as yet, whether 
I shall go on to France, or back to the Wen. I think I shall, 
when I go out of this inn, toss the bridle upon my horse's neck, 
and let him decide for me. I am sure he is more fit to decide 
on such a point than our ministers are to decide on any point 
connected with the happiness, greatness, and honour of this 


Wednesday, 3 Sept. 1823 (Evening). 

ON Monday I was balancing in my own mind whether I should 
go to France or not. To-day I have decided the question in the 
negative, and shall set off this evening for the Isle of Thanet; 
that spot so famous for corn. 

I broke off without giving an account of the country between 
Folkestone and Dover, which is a very interesting one in itself, 
and was peculiarly interesting to me on many accounts. I have 
often mentioned, in describing the parts of the country over 
which I have travelled; I have often mentioned the chalk-ridge 
and also the sand-ridge, which I had traced, running parallel 
with each other from about Farnham, in Surrey, to Sevenoaks, 
in Kent. The reader must remember how particular I have 
been to observe that, in going up from Chilworth and Albury, 
through Dorking, Reigate, Godstone, and so on, the two chains, 
or ridges, approach so near to each other, that, in many places, 
you actually have a chalk-bank to your right and a sand-bank 
to your left, at not more than forty yards from each other. In 
some places, these chains of hills run off from each other to a 
great distance, even to a distance of twenty miles. They then 
approach again towards each other, and so they go on. I was 
always desirous to ascertain whether these chains, or ridges, 
continued on thus to the sea. I have now found that they do. 
And if you go out into the channel, at Folkestone, there you 
see a sand cliff and a chalk cliff. Folkestone stands upon the 
sand, in a little dell about seven hundred or eight hundred yards 
from the very termination of the ridge. All the way along, the 
chalk ridge is the most lofty, until you come to Leith Hill and 
Hindhead; and here, at Folkestone, the sand-ridge tapers off 
in a sort of flat towards the sea. The land is like what it is at 


240 Rural Rides 

Reigate, a very steep hill; a hill of full a mile high, and bending 
exactly in the same manner as the hill at Reigate does. The 
turnpike-road winds up it and goes over it in exactly the same 
manner as that at Reigate. The land to the south of the hill 
begins a poor, thin, white loam upon the chalk; soon gets to be 
a very fine rich loam upon the chalk; goes on till it mingles the 
chalky loam with the sandy loam; and thus it goes on down 
to the sea-beach, or to the edge of the cliff. It is a beautiful bed 
of earth here, resembling in extent that on the south side of 
Portsdown Hill rather than that of Reigate. The crops here are 
always good if they are good anywhere. A large part of this 
fine tract of land, as well as the little town of Sandgate (which 
is a beautiful little place upon the beach itself), and also great 
part of the town of Folkestone belong, they tell me, to Lord 
Radnor, who takes his title of viscount from Folkestone. Upon 
the hill begins, and continues on for some miles, that stiff red 
loam, approaching to a clay, which I have several times de- 
scribed as forming the soil at the top of this chalk-ridge. I spoke 
of it in the Register of the i6th of August last, page 409, and 
I then said that it was like the land on the top of this very ridge 
at Ashmansworth in the north of Hampshire. At Reigate you 
find precisely the same soil upon the top of the hill, a very red, 
clayey sort of loam, with big yellow flint stones in it. Every- 
where, the soil is the same upon the top of the high part of this 
ridge. I have now found it to be the same, on the edge of the 
sea, that I found it on the north-east corner of Hampshire. 

From the hill, you keep descending all the way to Dover, 
a distance of about six miles, and it is absolutely six miles of 
down hill. On your right, you have the lofty land which forms 
a series of chalk cliffs, from the top of which you look into the 
sea; on your left, you have ground that goes rising up from 
you in the same sort of way. The turnpike-road goes down 
the middle of a valley, each side of which, as far as you can see, 
may be about a mile and a half. It is six miles long, you will 
remember; and here, therefore, with very little interruption, 
very few chasms, there are eighteen square miles of corn. It is a 
patch such as you very seldom see, and especially of corn so 
good as it is here. I should think that the wheat all along here 
would average pretty nearly four quarters to the acre. A few 
oats are sown. A great deal of barley, and that a very fine 

The town of Dover is like other sea-port towns; but really 
much more clean, and with less blackguard people in it than I 

From Dover to the Wen 241 

ever observed in any sea-port before. It is a most picturesque 
place, to be sure. On one side of it rises, upon the top of a very 
steep hill, the Old Castle, with all its fortifications. On the 
other side of it there is another chalk hill, the side of which is 
pretty nearly perpendicular, and rises up from sixty to a hundred 
feet higher than the tops of the houses, which stand pretty 
nearly close to the foot of the hill. 

I got into Dover rather late. It was dusk when I was going 
down the street towards the quay. I happened to look up, and 
was quite astonished to perceive cows grazing upon a spot 
apparently fifty feet above the tops of the houses, and measuring 
horizontally not, perhaps, more than ten or twenty feet from 
a line which would have formed a continuation into the air. 
I went up to the same spot, the next day, myself; and you 
actually look down upon the houses, as you look out of a window 
upon people in the street. The valley that runs down from 
Folkestone is, when it gets to Dover, crossed by another valley 
that runs down from Canterbury, or, at least, from the Canter- 
bury direction. It is in the gorge of this cross valley that Dover 
is built. The two chalk hills jut out into the sea, and the water 
that comes up between them forms a harbour for this ancient, 
most interesting, and beautiful place. On the hill to the north 
stands the castle of Dover, which is fortified in the ancient 
manner, except on the sea side, where it has the steep Cliff for 
a fortification. On the south side of the town the hill is, I 
believe, rather more lofty than that on the north side; and 
here is that cliff which is described by Shakespeare in the play 
of King Lear. It is fearfully steep, certainly. Very nearly 
perpendicular for a considerable distance. The grass grows 
well, to the very tip of the cliff; and you see cows and sheep 
grazing there with as much unconcern as if grazing in the bottom 
of a valley. 

It was not, however, these natural curiosities that took me 
over this hill; I went to see, with my own eyes, something of the 
sorts of means that had been made use of to squander away 
countless millions of money. Here is a hill containing, probably, 
a couple of square miles or more, hollowed like a honeycomb. 
Here are line upon line, trench upon trench, cavern upon cavern, 
bomb-proof upon bomb-proof; in short the very sight of the 
thing convinces you that either madness the most humiliating, 
or profligacy the most scandalous must have been at work here 
for years. The question that every man of sense asks is: 
What reason had you to suppose that the French would cvcv 

242 Rural Rides 

come to this hill to attack it, while the rest of the country was so 
much more easy to assail? However, let any man of good plain 
understanding go and look at the works that have here been 
performed and that are now all tumbling into ruin. Let him 
ask what this cavern was for; what that ditch was for; what 
this tank was for; and why all these horrible holes and hiding- 
places at an expense of millions upon millions? Let this scene 
be brought and placed under the eyes of the people of England, 
and let them be told that Pitt and Dundas and Perceval had these 
things done to prevent the country from being conquered; with 
voice unanimous the nation would instantly exclaim: Let the 
French or let the devil take us, rather than let us resort to means 
of defence like these. This is, perhaps, the only set of fortifica- 
tions in the world ever framed for mere hiding. There is no 
appearance of any intention to annoy an enemy. It is a parcel 
of holes made in a hill, to hide Englishmen from Frenchmen. 
Just as if the Frenchmen would come to this hill! Just as if 
they would not go (if they came at all) and land in Romney 
Marsh, or on Pevensey Level, or anywhere else, rather than come 
to this hill; rather than come to crawl up Shakespeare's Cliff. 
All the way along the coast, from this very hill to Portsmouth; 
or pretty nearly all the way, is a flat. What the devil should 
they come to this hill for, then? And when you ask this 
question, they tell you that it is to have an army here behind 
the French, after they had marched into the country! And 
for a purpose like this; for a purpose so stupid, so senseless, 
so mad as this, and withal, so scandalously disgraceful, more 
brick and stone have been buried in this hill than would go to 
build a neat new cottage for every labouring men in the counties 
of Kent and of Sussex ! 

Dreadful is the scourge of such ministers. However, those 
who supported them will now have to suffer. The money must 
have been squandered purposely, and for the worst ends. Fool 
as Pitt was; unfit as an old hack of a lawyer, like Dundas, was 
to judge of the means of defending the country, stupid as both 
these fellows were, and as their brother lawyer, Perceval, was 
too: unfit as these lawyers were to judge in any such a case, 
they must have known that this was an useless expenditure of 
money. They must have known that; and, therefore, their 
general folly, their general ignorance, is no apology for their 
conduct. What they wanted was to prevent the landing, not 
of Frenchmen, but of French principles; that is to say, to 
prevent the example of the French from being alluring to the 

From Dover to the Wen 243 

people of England. The devil a bit did they care for the 
Bourbons. They rejoiced at the killing of the king. They 
rejoiced at the atheistical decree. They rejoiced at everything 
calculated to alarm the timid and to excite horror in the people 
of England in general. They wanted to keep out of England 
those principles which had a natural tendency to destroy 
boroughmongering, and to put an end to peculation and plunder. 
No matter whether by the means of martello towers, making 
a great chalk hill a honeycomb, cutting a canal thirty feet wide 
to stop the march of the armies of the Danube and the Rhine: 
no matter how they squandered the money, so that it silenced 
some and made others bawl to answer their great purpose of 
preventing French example from having an influence in England. 
Simply their object was this: to make the French people 
miserable; to force back the Bourbons upon them as a means 
of making them miserable; to degrade France, to make the 
people wretched; and then to have to say to the people of 
England, Look there: see what they have got by their attempts to 
obtain liberty ! This was their object. They did not want 
martello towers and honeycombed chalk hills and mad canals : 
they did not want these to keep out the French armies. The 
boroughmongers and the parsons cared nothing about the 
French armies. It was the French example that the lawyers, 
boroughmongers and parsons wished to keep out. And what 
have they done? It is impossible to be upon this honeycombed 
hill, upon this enormous mass of anti-jacobin expenditure, 
without seeing the chalk cliffs of Calais and the cornfields of 
France. At this season it is impossible to see those fields 
without knowing that the farmers are getting in their corn there 
as well as here; and it is impossible to think of that fact without 
reflecting, at the same time, on the example which the farmers of 
France hold out to the farmers of England. Looking down 
from this very anti-jacobin hill, this day, I saw the parsons' 
shocks of wheat and barley, left in the field after the farmer 
had taken his away. Turning my head, and looking across the 
Channel, " There," said I, pointing to France, " there the 
spirited and sensible people have ridded themselves of this 
burden, of which our farmers so bitterly complain." It is im- 
possible not to recollect here, that, in numerous petitions, sent 
up, too, by the loyal, complaints have been made that the 
English farmer has to carry on a competition against the French 
farmer who has no tithes to pay I Well, loyal gentlemen, why do 
not you petition, then, to be relieved from tithes? What do 

244 Rural Rides 

you mean else? Do you mean to call upon our big gentlemen 
at Whitehall for them to compel the French to pay tithes? 
Oh, you loyal fools ! Better hold your tongues about the French 
not paying tithes. Better do that, at any rate; for never will 
they pay tithes again. 

Here is a large tract of land upon these hills at Dover, which 
is the property of the public, having been purchased at an 
enormous expense. This is now let out as pasture land to 
people of the town. I dare say that the letting of this land is 
a curious affair. If there were a member for Dover who would 
do what he ought to do, he would soon get before the public a 
list of the tenants, and of the rents paid by them. I should like 
very much to see such list. Butterworth, the bookseller in 
Fleet Street, he who is a sort of metropolitan of the Methodists, 
is one of the members for Dover. The other is, I believe, that 
Wilbraham or Bootle or Bootle Wilbraham, or some such name, 
that is a Lancashire magistrate. So that Dover is prettily set 
up. However, there is nothing of this sort that can, in the 
present state of things, be deemed to be of any real consequence. 
As long as the people at Whitehall can go on paying the interest 
of the debt in full, so long will there be no change worth the 
attention of any rational man. In the meanwhile, the French 
nation will be going on rising over us ; and our ministers will be 
cringing and crawling to every nation upon earth who is known 
to possess a cannon or a barrel of powder. 

This very day I have read Mr. Canning's speech at Liverpool, 
with a Yankee consul sitting on his right hand. Not a word 
now about the bits of bunting and the fir frigates; but now, 
America is the lovely daughter, who in a moment of excessive 
love has gone off with a lover (to wit, the French) and left the 
tender mother to mourn! What a fop! And this is the man 
that talked so big and so bold. This is the clever, the profound, 
the blustering, too, and above all things, " the high spirited ' 
Mr. Canning. However, more of this hereafter. I must get 
from this Dover, as fast as I can. 

Wednesday, 3 Sept., Night. 

I got to this place about half an hour after the ringing of 
the eight o'clock bell, or curfew, which I heard at about two 
miles distance from the place. From the town of Dover you 
come up the Castle Hill, and have a most beautiful view from 
the top of it. You have the sea, the chalk cliffs of Calais, the 

From Dover to the Wen 245 

high land at Boulogne, the town of Dover just under you, the 
valley towards Folkestone, and the much more beautiful valley 
towards Canterbury; and going on a little further, you have 
the Downs and the Essex or Suffolk coast in full view, with a 
most beautiful corn country to ride along through. The corn 
was chiefly cut between Dover and Walmer. The barley almost 
all cut and tied up in sheaf. Nothing but the beans seemed to 
remain standing along here. They are not quite so good as the 
rest of the corn; but they are by no means bad. When I came 
to the village of Walmer, I inquired for the castle; that famous 
place, where Pitt, Dundas, Perceval, and all the whole tribe of 
plotters against the French Revolution had carried on their 
plots. After coming through the village of Walmer, you see the 
entrance of the castle away to the right. It is situated pretty 
nearly on the water's edge, and at the bottom of a little dell, 
about a furlong or so from the turnpike-road. This is now the 
habitation of our great minister, Robert Bankes Jenkinson, 
son of Charles of that name. When I was told, by a girl \v\ o 
was leasing in a field by the road side, that that was Walmer 
Castle, I stopped short, pulled my horse round, looked stead- 
fastly at the gateway, and could not help exclaiming: " Oh, 
thou who inhabitest that famous dwelling; thou, who hast 
always been in place, let who might be out of place! Oh, 
thou everlasting placeman ! thou sage of ' over-production/ 
do but cast thine eyes upon this barley field, where, if I am 
not greatly deceived, there are from seven to eight quarters 
upon the acre! Oh, thou whose Courier newspaper has just 
informed its readers that wheat will be seventy shillings the 
quarter in the month of November: oh, thou wise man, I 
pray thee come forth from thy castle, and tell me what thou 
wilt do if wheat should happen to be, at the appointed time, 
thirty-five shillings, instead of seventy shillings, the quarter. 
Sage of over-production, farewell. If thou hast life, thou wilt 
be minister as long as thou canst pay the interest of the debt in 
full, but not one moment longer. The moment thou ceasest 
to be able to squeeze from the Normans a sufficiency to count 
down to the Jews their full tale, that moment, thou great stern- 
path-of-duty man, thou wilt begin to be taught the true meaning 
of the words Ministerial Responsibility" 

Deal is a most villainous place. It is full of filthy-looking 
people. Great desolation of abomination has been going on 
here; tremendous barracks, partly pulled down and partly 
tumbling down, and partly occupied by soldiers. Everything 

246 Rural Rides 

seems upon the perish. I was glad to hurry along through it, 
and to leave its inns and public-houses to be occupied by the 
tarred, and trowsered, and blue - and - buff crew whose very 
vicinage I always detest. From Deal you come along to Upper 
Deal, which, it seems, was the original village; thence upon a 
beautiful road to Sandwich, which is a rotten borough. Rotten- 
ness, putridity is excellent for land, but bad for boroughs. This 
place, which is as villainous a hole as one would wish to see, is 
surrounded by some of the finest land in the world. Along on 
one side of it lies a marsh. On the other sides of it is land 
which they tell me bears seven quarters of wheat to an acre. It 
is certainly very fine; for I saw large pieces of radish-seed on 
the roadside; this seed is grown for the seedsmen in London; 
and it will grow on none but rich land. All the corn is carried 
here except some beans and some barley. 

Thursday Afternoon, 4 Sept. 

In quitting Sandwich, you immediately cross a river up which 
vessels bring coals from the sea. This marsh is about a couple 
of miles wide. It begins at the sea-beach, opposite the Downs, 
to my right hand, coming from Sandwich, and it wheels round 
to my left and ends at the sea-beach, opposite Margate roads. 
This marsh was formerly covered with the sea, very likely; and 
hence the land within this sort of semicircle, the name of which 
is Thanet, was called an Isle. It is, in fact, an island now, for 
the same reason that Portsea is an island, and that New York is 
an island ; for there certainly is the water in this river that goes 
round and connects one part of the sea with the other. I had 
to cross this river, and to cross the marsh, before I got into the 
famous Isle of Thanet, which it was my intention to cross. Soon 
after crossing the river, I passed by a place for making salt, 
and could not help recollecting that there are no excisemen in 
these salt-making places in France, that, before the Revolution, 
the French were most cruelly oppressed by the duties on salt, 
that they had to endure, on that account, the most horrid 
tyranny that ever was known, except, perhaps, that practised 
in an Exchequer that shall here be nameless; that thousands and 
thousands of men and women were every year sent to the galleys 
for what was called smuggling salt; that the fathers and even 
the mothers were imprisoned or whipped if the children were 
detected in smuggling salt: I could not help reflecting, with 
delight, as I looked at these salt-pans in the Isle of Thanet; I 

From Dover to the Wen 247 

could not help reflecting, that in spite of Pitt, Dundas, Perceval, 
and the rest of the crew, in spite of the caverns of Dover and the 
martello towers in Romney Marsh : in spite of all the spies and 
all the bayonets, and the six hundred millions of debt and the 
hundred and fifty millions of dead-weight, and the two hundred 
millions of poor-rates that are now squeezing the borough- 
mongers, squeezing the farmers, puzzling the fellows at White- 
hall and making Mark Lane a scene of greater interest than the 
Chamber of the Privy Council; with delight as I jogged along 
under the first beams of the sun, I reflected that, in spite of all 
the malignant measures that had brought so much misery upon 
England, the gallant French people had ridded themselves of 
the tyranny which sent them to the galleys for endeavouring 
to use without tax the salt which God sent upon their shores. 
Can any man tell why we should still be paying five, or six, or 
seven shillings a bushel for salt, instead of one? We did pay 
fifteen shillings a bushel, tax. And why is two shillings a bushel 
kept on ? Because, if they were taken off, the salt-tax-gathering 
crew must be discharged! This tax of two shillings a bushel 
causes the consumer to pay five, at the least, more than he 
would if there were no tax at all ! When, great God ! when 
shall we be allowed to enjoy God's gifts, in freedom, as the 
people of France enjoy them? 

On the marsh I found the same sort of sheep as on Romney 
Marsh ; but the cattle here are chiefly Welsh ; black, and called 
runts. They are nice hardy cattle; and, I am told, that this 
is the description of cattle that they fat all the way up on this 
north side of Kent. When I got upon the corn land in the Isle 
of Thanet, I got into a garden indeed. There is hardly any 
fallow; comparatively few turnips. It is a country of corn. 
Most of the harvest is in; but there are some fields of wheat and 
of barley not yet housed. A great many pieces of lucerne, and 
all of them very fine. I left Ramsgate to my right about three 
miles, and went right across the island to Margate; but that 
place is so thickly settled with stock-jobbing cuckolds, at this 
time of the year, that, having no fancy to get their horns stuck 
into me, I turned away to my left when I got within about half 
a mile of the town. I got to a little hamlet, where I breakfasted ; 
but could get no corn for my horse, and no bacon for myself! 
All was corn around me. Barns, I should think, two hundred 
feet long; ricks of enormous size and most numerous; crops of 
wheat, five quarters to an acre, on the average; and a public- 
house without either bacon or corn ! The labourers' houses, all 

248 Rural Rides 

along through this island, beggarly in the extreme. The people 
dirty, poor-looking; ragged, but particularly dirty. The men 
and boys with dirty faces, and dirty smock-frocks, and dirty 
shirts; and, good God! what a difference between the wife of 
a labouring man here, and the wife of a labouring man in the 
forests and woodlands of Hampshire and Sussex! Invariably 
have I observed that the richer the soil, and the more destitute 
of woods; that is to say, the more purely a corn country, the 
more miserable the labourers. The cause is this, the great, the 
big bull frog grasps all. In this beautiful island every inch of 
land is appropriated by the rich. No hedges, no ditches, no 
commons, no grassy lanes: a country divided into great farms; 
a few trees surround the great farm-house. All the rest is bare 
of trees; and the wretched labourer has not a stick of wood, 
and has no place for a pig or cow to graze, or even to lie down 
upon. The rabbit countries are the countries for labouring men. 
There the ground is not so valuable. There it is not so easily 
appropriated by the few. Here, in this island, the work is 
almost all done by the horses. The horses plough the ground; 
they sow the ground ; they hoe the ground ; they carry the corn 
home; they thresh it out; and they carry it to market: nay, 
in this island, they rake the ground; they rake up the straggling 
straws and ears; so that they do the whole, except the reaping 
and the mowing. It is impossible to have an idea of anything 
more miserable than the state of the labourers in this part of the 

After coming by Margate, I passed a village called Monckton, 
and another called Sarr. At Sarr there is a bridge, over which 
you come out of the island, as you go into it over the bridge at 
Sandwich. At Monckton they had seventeen men working on 
the roads, though the harvest was not quite in, and though, of 
course, it had all to be threshed out; but, at Monckton, they 
had four threshing machines ; and they have three threshing 
machines at Sarr, though there, also, they have several men 
upon the roads! This is a shocking state of things; and in 
spite of everything that the Jenkinsons and the Scots can do, 
this state of things must be changed. 

At Sarr, or a little way further back, I saw a man who had 
just begun to reap a field of canary seed. The plants were too 
far advanced to be cut in order to be bleached for the making 
of plat; but I got the reaper to select me a few green stalks 
that grew near a bush that stood on the outside of the piece. 
These I have brought on with me, in order to give them a trial. 

From Dover to the Wen 249 

At Sarr I began to cross the marsh, and had, after this, to come 
through the village of Up-street, and another village called 
Steady, before I got to Canterbury. At Up-street I was struck 
with the words written upon a board which was fastened upon 
a pole, which pole was standing in a garden near a neat little 
box of a house. The words were these. " PARADISE PLACE. 
Spring guns and steel traps are set here" A pretty idea it must 
give us of Paradise to know that spring guns and steel traps are 
set in it! This is doubtless some stock-jobber's place; for, in 
the first place, the name is likely to have been selected by one 
of that crew; and, in the next place, whenever any of them go 
to the country, they look upon it that they are to begin a sort 
of warfare against everything around them. They invariably 
look upon every labourer as a thief. 

As you approach Canterbury, from the Isle of Thanet, you 
have another instance of the squanderings of the lawyer minis- 
ters. Nothing equals the ditches, the caverns, the holes, the 
tanks, and hiding-places of the hill at Dover; but, considerable 
as the city of Canterbury is, that city, within its gates, stands 
upon less ground than those horrible erections, the barracks of 
Pitt, Dundas, and Perceval. They are perfectly enormous ; but 
thanks be unto God, they begin to crumble down. They have 
a sickly hue : all is lassitude about them : endless are their lawns, 
their gravel walks, and their ornaments; but their lawns are 
unshaven, their gravel walks grassy, and their ornaments putting 
on the garments of ugliness. You see the grass growing opposite 
the doorways. A hole in the window strikes you here and there. 
Lamp posts there are, but no lamps. Here are horse-barracks, 
foot-barracks, artillery-barracks, engineer-barracks: a whole 
country of barracks; but only here and there a soldier. The 
thing is actually perishing. It is typical of the state of the great 
Thing of things. It gave me inexpressible pleasure to perceive 
the gloom that seemed to hang over these barracks, which once 
swarmed with soldiers and their blithe companions, as a hive 
swarms with bees. These barracks now look like the environs 
of a hive in winter. Westminster Abbey Church is not the place 
for the monument of Pitt; the statue of the great snorting 
bawler ought to be stuck up here, just in the midst of this 
hundred or two of acres covered with barracks. These barracks, 
too, were erected in order to compel the French to return to 
the payment of tithes; in order to bring their necks again under 
the yoke of the lords and the clergy. That has not been accom- 
plished. The French, as Mr. Hoggart assures us, have neither 

250 Rural Rides 

tithes, taxes, nor rates; and the people of Canterbury know 
that they have a hop-duty to pay, while Mr. Hoggart, of Broad 
Street, tells them that he has farms to let, in France, where there 
are hop-gardens and where there is no hop-duty. They have 
lately had races at Canterbury; and the mayor and aldermen, 
in order to get the Prince Leopold to attend them, presented 
him with the Freedom of the City; but it rained all the time 
and he did not come ! The mayor and aldermen do not under- 
stand things half so well as this German gentleman, who has 
managed his matters as well, I think, as any one that I ever 
heard of. 

This fine old town, or rather city, is remarkable for cleanliness 
and niceness, notwithstanding it has a cathedral in it. The 
country round it is very rich, and this year, while the hops are 
so bad in most other parts, they are not so very bad just about 


Friday Morning, 5 Sept. 

In going through Canterbury, yesterday, I gave a boy six- 
pence to hold my horse, while I went into the cathedral, just 
to thank St. Swithin for the trick that he had played my friends, 
the Quakers. Led along by the wet weather till after the 
harvest had actually begun, and then to find the weather turn 
fine, all of a sudden! This must have soused them pretty 
decently; and I hear of one, who, at Canterbury, has made a 
bargain by which he will certainly lose two thousand pounds. 
The land where I am now is equal to that of the Isle of Thanet. 
The harvest is nearly over, and all the crops have been pro- 
digiously fine. In coming from Canterbury, you come to the 
top of a hill, called Baughton Hill, at four miles from Canterbury 
on the London Road; and you there look down into one of the 
finest flats in England. A piece of marsh comes up nearly to 
Faversham; and at the edge of that marsh lies the farm where 
I now am. The land here is a deep loam upon chalk ; and this 
is also the nature of the land in the Isle of Thanet and all the 
way from that to Dover. The orchards grow well upon this 
soil. The trees grow finely, the fruit is large and of fine flavour. 

In 1821 I gave Mr. William Waller, who lives here, some 
American apple-cuttings; and he has now some as fine Newtown 
Pippins as one would wish to see. They are very large of their 
sort; very free in their growth; and they promise to be very 
fine apples of the kind. Mr. Waller had cuttings from me of 

From Dover to the Wen 251 

several sorts, in 1822. These were cut down last year; they 
have, of course, made shoots this summer; and great numbers 
of these shoots have fruit-spurs, which will have blossom, if not 
fruit, next year. This very rarely happens, I believe; and the 
state of Mr. Waller's trees clearly proves to me that the intro- 
duction of these American trees would be a great improvement. 
My American apples, when I left Kensington, promised to 
be very fine; and the apples, which I have frequently mentioned 
as being upon cuttings imported last spring, promised to come 
to perfection; a thing which, I believe, we have not an instance 
of before. 


Friday Evening, 5 Sept. 

A friend at Tenterden told me that, if I had a mind to know 
Kent, I must go through Romney Marsh to Dover, from Dover 
to Sandwich, from Sandwich to Margate, from Margate to 
Canterbury, from Canterbury to Faversham, from Faversham to 
Maidstone, and from Maidstone to Tonbridge. I found from 
Mr. Waller, this morning, that the regular turnpike route, from 
his house to Maidstone, was through Sittingbourne. I had been 
along that road several times; and besides, to be covered with 
dust was what I could not think of, when I had it in my power 
to get to Maidstone without it. I took the road across the 
country, quitting the London road, or rather, crossing it, in the 
dell, between Ospringe and Green Street. I instantly began 
to go up hill, slowly, indeed; but up hill. I came through the 
villages of Newnham, Doddington, Ringlestone, and to that of 
Hollingbourne. I had come up hill for thirteen miles, from 
Mr. Waller's house. At last, I got to the top of this hill, and 
went along, for some distance, upon level ground. I found I 
was got upon just the same sort of land as that on the hill at 
Folkestone, at Reigate, at Ropley, and at Ashmansworth. 
The red clayey loam, mixed up with great yellow flint stones. 
I found fine meadows here, just such as are at Ashmansworth 
(that is to say, on the north Hampshire hills). This sort of 
ground is characterised by an astonishing depth that they have 
to go for the water. At Ashmansworth, they go to a depth of 
more than three hundred feet. As I was riding along upon the 
top of this hill in Kent, I saw the same beautiful sort of meadows 
that there are at Ashmansworth; I saw the corn backward; 
I was just thinking to go up to some house, to ask how far they 
had to go for water, when I saw a large well-bucket, and all the 

252 Rural Rides 

chains and wheels belonging to such a concern; but here was 
also the tackle for a horse to work in drawing up the water! 
I asked about the depth of the well; and the information I 
received must have been incorrect; because I was told it was 
three hundred yards. I asked this of a public-house keeper 
further on, not seeing anybody where the farm-house was. I 
make no doubt that the depth is, as near as possible, that of 
Ashmansworth. Upon the top of this hill, I saw the finest field 
of beans that I have seen this year, and, by very far, indeed, 
the finest piece of hops. A beautiful piece of hops, surrounded 
by beautiful plantations of young ash, producing poles for 
hop-gardens. My road here pointed towards the west. It soon 
wheeled round towards the south; and, all of a sudden, I found 
myself upon the edge of a hill, as lofty and as steep as that at 
Folkestone, at Reigate, or at Ashmansworth. It was the same 
famous chalk ridge that I was crossing again. When I got to 
the edge of the hill, and before I got off my horse to lead him 
down this more than mile of hill, I sat and surveyed the prospect 
before me, and to the right and to the left. This is what the 
people of Kent call the Garden of Eden. It is a district of 
meadows, corn fields, hop-gardens, and orchards of apples, pears, 
cherries and filberts, with very little if any land which cannot, 
with propriety, be called good. There are plantations of 
chestnut and of ash frequently occurring; and as these are cut 
when long enough to make poles for hops, they are at all times 
objects of great beauty. 

At the foot of the hill of which I have been speaking is the 
village of Hollingbourne; thence you come on to Maidstone. 
From Maidstone to this place (Merryworth) is about seven miles, 
and these are the finest seven miles that I have ever seen in 
England or anywhere else. The Medway is to your left, with 
its meadows about a mile wide. You cross the Medway, in 
coming out of Maidstone, and it goes and finds its way down to 
Rochester, through a break in the chalk ridge. From Maidstone 
to Merryworth, I should think that there were hop-gardens on 
one half of the way on both sides of the road. Then looking 
across the Medway, you see hop-gardens and orchards two miles 
deep, on the side of a gently rising ground: and this continues 
with you all the way from Maidstone to Merryworth. The 
orchards form a great feature of the country; and the planta- 
tions of ashes and of chestnuts that I mentioned before, add 
greatly to the beauty. These gardens of hops are kept very 
clean, in general, though some of them have been neglected this 

From Dover to the Wen 253 

year owing to the bad appearance of the crop. The culture is 
sometimes mixed : that is to say, apple-trees or cherry-trees or 
filbert- trees and hops, in the same ground. This is a good way, 
they say, of raising an orchard. I do not believe it; and I think 
that nothing is gained by any of these mixtures. They plant 
apple-trees or cherry- trees in rows here; they then plant a 
filbert- tree close to each of these large fruit- trees; and then they 
cultivate the middle of the ground by planting potatoes. This 
is being too greedy. It is impossible that they can gain by this. 
What they gain one way they lose the other way; and I verily 
believe that the most profitable way would be never to mix 
things at all. In coming from Maidstone I passed through a 
village called Teston, where Lord Basham has a seat. 

Saturday Morning, 6 Sept. 

I came off from Merryworth a little before five o'clock, passed 
the seat of Lord Torrington, the friend of Mr. Barretto. This 
Mr. Barretto ought not to be forgotten so soon. In 1820 he sued 
for articles of the peace against Lord Torrington, for having 
menaced him, in consequence of his having pressed his lordship 
about some money. It seems that Lord Torrington had known 
him in the East Indies; that they came home together, or soon 
after one another; that his lordship invited Mr. Barretto to his 
best parties in India; that he got him introduced at court in 
England by Sidmouth; that he got him made a Fellow of the 
Royal Society ; and that he tried to get him introduced into 
Parliament. His lordship, when Barretto rudely pressed him 
for his money, reminded him of all this, and of the many diffi- 
culties that he had had to overcome with regard to his colour 
and so forth. Nevertheless, the dingy skinned court visitant 
pressed in such a way that Lord Torrington was obliged to be 
pretty smart with him, whereupon the other sued for articles 
of the peace against his lordship; but these were not granted 
by the court. This Barretto issued a handbill at the last election 
as a candidate for St. Albans. I am truly sorry that he was 
not elected. Lord Camelford threatened to put in his black 
fellow; but he was a sad swaggering fellow; and had, at last, 
too much of the boroughmonger in him to do a thing so meri- 
torious. Lord Torrington's is but an indifferent looking place. 

I here began to see South Down sheep again, which I had 
not seen since the time I left Tenterden. All along here the 

254 Rural Rides 

villages are at not more than two miles distance from each 
other. They have all large churches, and scarcely anybody 
to go to them. At a village called Hadlow, there is a house 
belonging to a Mr. May, the most singular looking thing I ever 
saw. An immense house stuck all over with a parcel of chim- 
neys, or things like chimneys; little brick columns, with a sort 
of caps on them, looking like carnation sticks, with caps at the 
top to catch the earwigs. The building is all of brick, and has 
the oddest appearance of anything I ever saw. This Tonbridge 
is but a common country town, though very clean, and the people 
looking very well. The climate must be pretty warm here, 
for in entering the town I saw a large Althea Frutex in bloom, 
a thing rare enough, any year, and particularly a year like this. 

Saturday, Noon, 6. Sept. 

Instead of going on to the Wen along the turnpike-road 
through Sevenoaks, I turned to my left when I got about a 
mile out of Tonbridge, in order to come along that tract of 
country called the Weald of Kent; that is to say, the solid 
clays, which have no bottom, which are unmixed with chalk, 
sand, stone, or anything else; the country of dirty roads and 
of oak trees. I stopped at Tonbridge only a few minutes; 
but in the Weald I stopped to breakfast at a place called 
Leigh. From Leigh I came to Chittingstone causeway, leaving 
Tonbridge Wells six miles over the hills to my left. From 
Chittingstone I came to Bough-beach, thence to Four Elms, 
and thence to this little market-town of Westerham, which is 
just upon the border of Kent. Indeed, Kent, Surrey, and 
Sussex form a joining very near to this town. Westerham, 
exactly like Reigate and Godstone, and Sevenoaks, and Dorking, 
and Folkestone, lies between the sand-ridge and the chalk-ridge. 
The valley is here a little wider than at Reigate, and that is all 
the difference there is between the places. As soon as you get 
over the sand hill to the south of Reigate, you get into the 
Weald of Surrey; and here, as soon as you get over the sand 
hill to the south of Westerham, you get into the Weald of Kent. 

I have now, in order to get to the Wen, to cross the chalk- 
ridge once more, and at a point where I never crossed it before. 
Coming through the Weald I found the corn very good; and 
low as the ground is, wet as it is, cold as it is, there will be 
very little of the wheat which will not be housed before Saturday 

From Dover to the Wen 255 

night. All the corn is good, and the barley excellent. Not 
far from Bough-beach, I saw two oak trees, one of which was, 
they told me, more than thirty feet round, and the other more 
than twenty-seven ; but they have been hollow for half a century. 
They are not much bigger than the oak upon Tilford Green, if 
any. I mean in the trunk; but they are hollow, while that tree 
is sound in all its parts, and growing still. I have had a most 
beautiful ride through the Weald. The day is very hot; but I 
have been in the shade; and my horse's feet very often in the 
rivulets and wet lanes. In one place I rode above a mile com- 
pletely arched over by the boughs of the underwood, growing in 
the banks of the lane. What an odd taste that man must have 
who prefers a turnpike-road to a lane like this. 

Very near to Westerham there are hops : and I have seen now 
and then a little bit of hop garden, even in the Weald. Hops 
will grow well where lucerne will grow well; and lucerne will 
grow well where there is a rich top and a dry bottom. When 
therefore you see hops in the Weald, it is on the side of some hill, 
where there is sand or stone at bottom, and not where there is 
real clay beneath. There appear to be hops, here and there, all 
along from nearly at Dover to Alton, in Hampshire. You find 
them all along Kent; you find them at Westerham; across at 
Worth, in Sussex; at Godstone, in Surrey; over to the north of 
Merrow Down, near Guildford; atGodalming; under the Hog's- 
back, at Farnham ; and all along that way to Alton. But there,, 
I think, they end. The whole face of the country seems to rise, 
when you get just beyond Alton, and to keep up. Whether 
you look to the north, the south, or west, the land seems to rise, 
and the hops cease, till you come again away to the north-west, 
in Herefordshire. 

Saturday Night, 6 Sept. 

Here I close my day, at the end of forty-four miles. In 
coming up the chalk hill from Westerham, I prepared myself 
for the red stiff clay-like loam, the big yellow flints and the 
meadows; and I found them all. I have now gone over this 
chalk-ridge in the following places : at Coombe in the north-west 
of Hampshire ; I mean the north-west corner, the very extremity 
of the county. I have gone over it at Ashmansworth, or High- 
clere, going from Newbury to Andover; at King's Clere, going 
from Newbury to Winchester ; at Ropley, going from Alresford 
to Selborne; at Dippinghall going from Crondall to Thursly; at 


Rural Rides 

Merrow, going from Chertsey to Chilworth; at Reigate; at 
Westerham, and then, between these, at Godstone; at Seven- 
oaks, going from London to Battle; at Hollingbourne, as 
mentioned above, and at Folkestone. In all these places I have 
crossed this chalk-ridge. Everywhere, upon the top of it, I have 
found a flat, and the soil of all these flats I have found to be a 
red stiff loam mingled up with big yellow flints. A soil difficult 
to work; but by no means bad, whether for wood, hops, grass, 
orchards or corn. I once before mentioned that I was assured 
that the pasture upon these bleak hills was as rich as that which 
is found in the north of Wiltshire, in the neighbourhood of 
Swindon, where they make some of the best cheese in the kingdom. 
Upon these hills I have never found the labouring people poor 
and miserable, as in the rich vales. All is not appropriated 
where there are coppices and wood, where the cultivation is not 
so easy and the produce so very large. 

After getting up the hill from Westerham, I had a general 
descent to perform all the way to the Thames. When you get 
to Beckenham, which is the last parish in Kent, the country 
begins to assume a cockney-like appearance; all is artificial, 
and you no longer feel any interest in it. I was anxious to make 
this journey into Kent, in the midst of harvest, in order that I 
might know the real state of the crops. The result of my observa- 
tions and my inquiries is, that the crop is afull average crop of 
everything except barley, and that the barley yields a great deal 
more than an average crop. I thought that the beans were very 
poor during my ride into Hampshire; but I then saw no real 
bean countries. I have seen such countries now; and I do not 
think that the beans present us with a bad crop. As to the 
quality, it is, in no case (except perhaps the barley), equal to 
that of last year. We had, last year, an Italian summer. When 
the wheat or other grain has to ripen in wet weather, it will not 
be bright, as it will when it has to ripen in fair weather. It will 
have a dingy or clouded appearance; and perhaps the flour may 
not be quite so good. The wheat, in fact, will not be so heavy. 
In order to enable others to judge, as well as myself, I took 
samples from the fields as I went along. I took them very fairly, 
and as often as I thought that there was any material change in 
the soil or other circumstances. During the ride I took sixteen 
samples. These are now at the office of the Register, in Fleet 
Street, where they may be seen by any gentleman who thinks the 
information likely to be useful to him. The samples are 
numbered, and there is a reference pointing out the place 

From Dover to the Wen 257 

where each sample was taken. The opinions that I gather 
amount to this: that there is an average crop of everything, 
and a little more of barley. 

Now then we shall see how all this tallies with the schemes, 
with the intentions and expectations of our matchless gentle- 
men at Whitehall. These wise men have put forth their views 
in the Courier of the 27th of August, and in words which ought 
never to be forgotten, and which, at any rate, shall be recorded 

" GRAIN. During the present unsettled state of the weather, 
it is impossible for the best informed persons to anticipate upon 
good grounds what will be the future price of agricultural produce. 
Should the season even yet prove favourable, for the operations 
of the harvest, there is every probability of the average price of 
grain continuing at that exact price, which will prove most 
conducive to the interests of the corn growers, and at the same 
time encouraging to the agriculture of our colonial possessions. 
We do not speak lightly on this subject, for we are aware that 
his majesty's ministers have been fully alive to the inquiries 
from all qualified quarters as to the effect likely to be produced 
on the markets from the addition of the present crops to the 
stock of wheat already on hand. The result of these inquiries 
is, that in the highest quarters there exists the full expectation 
that towards the month of November the price of wheat will 
nearly approach to seventy shillings, a price which, while it 
affords the extent of remuneration to the British farmer recog- 
nised by the corn laws, will at the same time admit of the sale of 
the Canadian bonded wheat; and the introduction of this foreign 
corn, grown by British colonists, will contribute to keeping 
down our markets, and exclude foreign grain from other 

There's nice gentlemen of Whitehall! What pretty gentle- 
men they are ! " Envy of surrounding nations" indeed, to be 
under command of pretty gentlemen who can make calcula- 
tions so nice, and put forth predictions so positive upon such a 
subject! " Admiration of the world " indeed, to live under the 
command of men who can so control seasons and markets; or, 
at least, who can so dive into the secrets of trade, and find out 
the contents of the fields, barns, and ricks, as to be able to 
balance things so nicely as to cause the Canadian corn to find a 
market, without injuring the sale of that of the British farmer, 
and without admitting that of the French farmer and the other 
farmers of the continent! Happy, too happy, rogues that we 

258 Rural Rides 

are, to be under the guidance of such pretty gentlemen, and right 
just is it that we should be banished for life, if we utter a word 
tending to bring such pretty gentlemen into contempt. 

Let it be observed that this paragraph must have come from 
Whitehall. This wretched paper is the demi-official organ of 
the government. As to the owners of the paper, Daniel 
Stewart, that notorious fellow, Street, and the rest of them, 
not excluding the brother of the great Oracle, which brother 
bought, the other day, a share of this vehicle of baseness and 
folly; as to these fellows, they have no control other than what 
relates to the expenditure and the receipts of the vehicle. They 
get their news from the offices of the Whitehall people, and their 
paper is the mouthpiece of those same people. Mark this, I 
I pray you, reader; and let the French people mark it, too, and 
then take their revenge for the Waterloo insolence. This being 
the case, then, this paragraph proceeding from the pretty 
gentlemen, what a light it throws on their expectations, their 
hopes, and their fears. They see that wheat at seventy shillings 
a quarter is necessary to them ! Ah ! pray mark that ! They 
see that wheat at seventy shillings a quarter is necessary to 
them; and, therefore, they say that wheat will be at seventy 
shillings a quarter, the price, as they call it, necessary to re- 
munerate the British farmer. And how do the conjurors at 
Whitehall know this? Why, they have made full inquiries " in 
qualified quarters." And the qualified quarters have satisfied 
the " highest quarters," that, " towards the month of November, 
the price of wheat will nearly approach to seventy shillings the 
quarter!" I wonder what the words towards the 'end of 
November " may mean. Devil's in't if middle of September is 
not " towards November; " and the wheat, instead of going on 
towards seventy shillings, is very fast coming down to forty. 
The beast who wrote this paragraph; the pretty beast; this 
" envy of surrounding nations " wrote it on the 2)th of August, 
a soaking wet Saturday I The pretty beast was not aware that 
the next day was going to be fine, and that we were to have only 
the succeeding Tuesday and half the following Saturday of wet 
weather until the whole of the harvest should be in. The pretty 
beast wrote while the rain was spattering against the window; 
and he did " not speak lightly," but was fully aware that the 
highest quarters, having made inquiries of the qualified quarters, 
were sure that wheat would be at seventy shillings during the 
ensuing year. What will be the price of wheat it is impossible 
for any one of say. I know a gentleman, who is a very good 

From Dover to the Wen 259 

judge of such matters, who is of opinion that the average price 
of wheat will be thirty- two shillings a quarter, or lower, before 
Christmas; this is not quite half what the highest quarters 
expect, in consequence of the inquiries which they have made 
of the qualified quarters. I do not say that the average of wheat 
will come down to thirty-two shillings ; but this I know, that at 
Reading, last Saturday, about forty-five shillings was the price; 
and I hear that, in Norfolk, the price is forty -two. The 
highest quarters, and the infamous London press, will, at any 
rate, be prettily exposed before Christmas. Old Sir Thomas 
Lethbridge, too, and Gaffer Gooch, and his base tribe of Pittites 
at Ipswich; Coke and Suffield, and their crew; all these will be 
prettily laughed at; nor will that " tall soul," Lord Milton, escape 
being reminded of his profound and patriotic observation 
relative to " this self-renovating country." No sooner did he 
see the wheat get up to sixty or seventy shillings than he lost all 
his alarms; found that all things were right, turned his back on 
Yorkshire reformers, and went and toiled for Scarlett at Peter- 
borough : and discovered that there was nothing wrong, at last, 
and that the " self-renovating country '" would triumph over 
all its difficulties! So it will, " tall soul; " it will triumph over 
all its difficulties: it will renovate itself: it will purge itself of 
rotten boroughs, of vile boroughmongers, their tools and their 
stopgaps; it will purge itself of all the villainies which now 
corrode its heart; it will, in short, free itself from those curses 
which the expenditure of eight or nine hundred millions of 
English money took place in order to make perpetual; it will, 
in short, become as free from oppression, as easy and as happy as 
the gallant and sensible nation on the other side of the Channel. 
This is the sort of renovation, but not renovation by the means 
of wheat at seventy shillings a quarter. Renovation it will 
have: it will rouse and will shake from itself curses like the 
pension which is paid to Burke' s executors. This is the sort of 
renovation, " tall soul; " and not wheat at seventy shillings a 
quarter, while it is at twenty-five shillings a quarter in France. 
Pray observe, reader, how the " tall soul " catched at the rise in 
the price of wheat: how he snapped at it: how quickly he ceased 
his attacks upon the Whitehall people and upon the system. 
He thought he had been deceived : he thought that things were 
coming about again ; and so he drew in his horns, and began to 
talk about the self-renovating country. This was the tone of 
them all. This was the tone of all the boroughmongers; all 
the friends of the system; all those who, like Lethbridge, had 

260 Rural Rides 

begun to be staggered. They had deviated, for a moment, into 
our path! but they popped back again the moment they saw 
the price of wheat rise! All the enemies of reform, all the 
calumniators of reformers, all the friends of the system, most 
anxiously desired a rise in the price of wheat. Mark the curious 
fact that all the vile press of London; the whole of that in- 
famous press; that newspapers, magazines, reviews: the whole 
of the base thing; and a baser surely this world never saw; 
that the whole of this base thing rejoiced, exulted, crowed over 
me, and told an impudent lie, in order to have the crowing; 
crowed, for what? Because wheat and bread were become dear I 
A newspaper hatched under a corrupt priest, a profligate priest, 
and recently espoused to the hell of Pall Mall; even this vile 
thing crowed because wheat and bread had become dear ! Now, 
it is notorious that, heretofore, every periodical publication in 
this kingdom was in the constant habit of lamenting when 
bread became dear, and of rejoicing when it became cheap. 
This is notorious. Nay, it is equally notorious, that this in- 
famous press was everlastingly assailing bakers, and millers, and 
butchers, for not selling bread, flour, and meat cheaper than they 
were selling them. In how many hundreds of instances has 
this infamous press caused attacks to be made by the mob upon 
tradesmen of this description ! All these things are notorious. 
Moreover, notorious it is that, long previous to every harvest, 
this infamous, this execrable, this beastly press, was engaged in 
stunning the public with accounts of the great crop which was 
just coming forward! There was always, with this press, a 
prodigiously large crop. This was invariably the case. It 
was never known to be the contrary. 

Now these things are perfectly well known to every man in 
England. How comes it, then, reader, that the profligate, the 
trading, the lying, the infamous press of London, has now totally 
changed its tone and bias. The base thing never now tells us 
that there is a great crop or even a good crop. It never now 
wants cheap bread and cheap wheat and cheap meat. It never 
now finds fault of bakers and butchers. It now always en- 
deavours to make it appear that corn is dearer than it is. The 
base Morning Herald, about three weeks ago, not only suppressed 
the fact of the fall of wheat, but asserted that there had been a 
rise in the price. Now why is all this ? That is a great question, 
reader. That is a very interesting question. Why has this 
infamous press, which always pursues that which it thinks its 
own interest; why has it taken this strange turn? This is the 

From Dover to the Wen 261 

reason : stupid as the base thing is, it has arrived at a conviction 
that if the price of the produce of the land cannot be kept up to 
something approaching ten shillings a bushel for good wheat, the 
hellish system of funding must be blown up. The infamous 
press has arrived at a conviction that that cheating, that 
fraudulent system by which this press lives, must be destroyed 
unless the price of corn can be kept up. The infamous traders 
of the press are perfectly well satisfied that the interest of the 
debt must be reduced, unless wheat can be kept up to nearly 
ten shillings a bushel. Stupid as they are, and stupid as the 
fellows down at Westminster are, they know very well that the 
whole system, stock-jobbers, Jews, cant and all, go to the devil 
at once as soon as a deduction is made from the interest of the 
debt. Knowing this, they want wheat to sell high; because it 
has, at last, been hammered into their skulls that the interest 
cannot be paid in full if wheat sells low. Delightful is the 
dilemma in which they are. Dear bread does not suit their 
manufactories, and cheap bread does not suit their debt. 
" Envy of surrounding nations" how hard it is that Providence 
will not enable your farmers to sell dear and the consumers to 
buy cheap ! These are the things that you want. Admiration 
of the world you are ; but have these things you will not. There 
may be those, indeed, who question whether you yourself know 
what you want; but, at any rate, if you want these things, you 
will not have them. 

Before I conclude, let me ask the reader to take a look at the 
singularity of the tone and tricks of this Six-Acts Government. 
Is it not a novelty in the world to see a government, and in 
ordinary seasons, too, having its whole soul absorbed in con- 
siderations relating to the price of corn? There are our neigh- 
bours, the French, who have got a government engaged in taking 
military possession of a great neighbouring kingdom to free 
which from these very French we have recently expended a 
hundred and fifty millions of money. Our neighbours have got 
a government that is thus engaged, and we have got a govern- 
ment that employs itself in making incessant " inquiries in all 
the qualified quarters " relative to the price of wheat! Curious 
employment for a government! Singular occupation for the 
ministers of the Great George ! They seem to think nothing of 
Spain, with its eleven millions of people, being in fact added to 
France. Wholly insensible do they appear to concerns of this 
sort, while they sit thinking, day and night, upon the price of 
the bushel of wheat! 

262 Rural Rides 

However, they are not, after all, such fools as they appear 
to be. Despicable, indeed, must be that nation whose safety or 
whose happiness does, in any degree, depend on so fluctuating 
a thing as the price of corn. This is a matter that we must take 
as it comes. The seasons will be what they will be; and all the 
calculations of statesmen must be made wholly independent of 
the changes and chances of seasons. This has always been the 
case, to be sure. What nation could ever carry on its affairs, 
if it had to take into consideration the price of corn? Never- 
theless, such is the situation of our government that its very 
existence, in its present way, depends upon the price of corn. 
The pretty fellows at Whitehall, if you may say to them: Well, but 
look at Spain; look at the enormous strides of the French; think 
of the consequences in case of another war; look, too. at the grow- 
ing marine of America. See, Mr. Jenkinson, see, Mr. Canning, 
see, Mr. Huskisson, see, Mr. Peel, and all ye tribe of Grenvilles, 
see, what tremendous dangers are gathering together about us! 
" Us! ' Aye, about you ; but pray think what tremendous 
dangers wheat at four shillings a bushel will bring about us I 
This is the gist. Here lies the whole of it. We laugh at a 
government employing itself in making calculations about the 
price of corn, and in employing its press to put forth market 
puffs. We laugh at these things; but we should not laugh, if 
we considered that it is on the price of wheat that the duration 
of the power and the profits of these men depends. They know 
what they want; and they wish to believe themselves, and to 
make others believe, that they shall have it. I have observed 
before, but it is necessary to observe again, that all those who 
are for the system, let them be Opposition or Opposition not, feel 
as Whitehall feels about the price of corn. I have given an 
instance in the " tall soul; " but it is the same with the whole 
of them, with the whole of those who do not wish to see this 
infernal system changed. I was informed, and I believe it to be 
true, that the Marquis of Lansdowne said, last April, when the 
great rise took place in the price of corn, that he had always 
thought that the cash-measures had but little effect on prices; 
but that he was now satisfied that those measures had no effect 
at all on prices! Now, what is our situation; what is the 
situation of this country, if we must have the present ministry, 
or a ministry of which the Marquis of Lansdowne is to be a 
member, if the Marquis of Lansdowne did utter these words? 
And again, I say, that I verily believe he did utter them. 

Ours is a government that now seems to depend very much 

From Dover to the Wen 263 

upon the weather. The old type of a ship at sea will not do now, 
ours is a weather government; and to know the state of it, we 
must have recourse to those glasses that the Jews carry about. 
Weather depends upon the winds, in a great measure; and I 
have no scruple to say, that the situation of those two right 
honourable youths, that are now gone to the Lakes in the north ; 
that their situation, next winter, will be rendered very irksome, 
not to say perilous, by the present easterly wind, if it should 
continue about fifteen days longer. Pitt, when he had just 
made a monstrous issue of paper, and had, thereby, actually 
put the match which blowed up the old She Devil in 1797 Pitt, 
at that time, congratulated the nation that the wisdom of 
parliament had established a solid system of finance. Anything 
but solid it assuredly was; but his system of finance was as 
worthy of being called solid, as that system of government which 
now manifestly depends upon the weather and the winds. 

Since my return home (it is now Thursday, nth September), 
I have received letters from the east, from the north, and from 
the west. All tell me that the harvest is very far advanced, and 
that the crops are free from blight. These letters are not par- 
ticular as to the weight of the crop; except that they all say that 
the barley is excellent. The wind is now coming from the east. 
There is every appearance of the fine weather continuing. 
Before Christmas, we shall have the wheat down to what will 
be a fair average price in future. I always said that the late 
rise was a mere puff. It was, in part, a scarcity rise. The wheat 
of 1821 was grown and bad. That of 1822 had to be begun 
upon in July. The crop has had to last thirteen months and a 
half. The present crop will have to last only eleven months, or 
less. The crop of barley, last year, was so very bad; so very 
small; and the crop of the year before so very bad in quality 
that wheat was malted, last year, in great quantities, instead 
of barley. This year, the crop of barley is prodigious. All 
these things considered, wheat, if the cash-measures had had 
no effect, must have been a hundred and forty shillings a quarter, 
and barley eighty. Yet the first never got to seventy, and the 
latter never got to forty! And yet there was a man who 
tjalls himself a statesman to say that that mere puff of a rise 
satisfied him that the cash-measures had never had any effect! 
Ah! they are all afraid to believe in the effect of those cash- 
measures: they tremble like children at the sight of the rod, 
when you hold up before them the effect of those cash-measures. 
Their only hope is, that I am wrong in my opinions upon that 

264 Rural Rides 

subject; because, if I am right, their system is condemned to 
speedy destruction ! 

I thus conclude, for the present, my remarks relative to the 
harvest and the price of corn. It is the great subject of the 
day; and the comfort is that we are now speedily to see whether 
I be right or whether the Marquis of Lansdowne be right. As 
to the infamous London press, the moment the wheat comes 
down to forty shillings, that is to say, an average government 
return of forty shillings, I will spend ten pounds in placarding 
this infamous press, after the manner in which we used to placard 
the base and detestable enemies of the queen. This infamous 
press has been what is vulgarly called " running its rigs '" for 
several months past. The Quakers have been urging it on, 
underhanded. They have, I understand, been bribing it pretty 
deeply, in order to calumniate me, and to favour their own 
monopoly, but, thank God, the cunning knaves have outwitted 
themselves. They won't play at cards; but they will play at 
Stocks ; they will play at lottery tickets, and they will play at 
Mark Lane. They have played a silly game, this time. Saint 
Swithin, that good old Roman Catholic Saint, seemed to have 
set a trap for them: he went on, wet, wet, wet, even until the 
harvest began. Then, after two or three days' sunshine, shock- 
ing wet again. The ground soaking, the wheat growing, and the 
" Friends" the gentle Friends, seeking the Spirit, were as busy 
amongst the sacks at Mark Lane as the devil in a high wind. 
In short they bought away, with all the gain of Godliness, and 
a little more, before their eyes. All of a sudden, Saint Swithin 
took away his clouds; out came the sun; the wind got round 
to the east; just sun enough and just wind enough; and as the 
wheat ricks everywhere rose up, the long jaws of the Quakers 
dropped down; and their faces of slate became of a darker hue. 
That sect will certainly be punished this year; and let us hope 
that such a change will take place in their concerns as will compel 
a part of them to labour, at any rate; for, at present, their sect 
is a perfect monster in society; a whole sect, not one man of 
whom earns his living by the sweat of his brow. A sect a great 
deal worse than the Jews ; for some of them do work. However, 
God send us the easterly wind for another fortnight, and we shall 
certainly see some of this sect at work. 



Wednesday Evening, 19 October, 1825. 

HAVING some business at Hartswood, near Reigate, I intended 
to come off this morning on horseback, along with my son 
Richard, but it rained so furiously the last night that we gave 
up the horse project for to-day, being, by appointment, to be 
at Reigate by ten o'clock to-day: so that we came off this morn- 
ing at five o'clock in a post-chaise, intending to return home 
and take our horses. Finding, however, that we cannot quit 
this place till Friday, we have now sent for our horses, though the 
weather is dreadfully wet. But we are under a farm-house roof, 
and the wind may whistle and the rain fall as much as they like. 

Thursday Evening, 20 October. 

Having done my business at Hartswood to-day about eleven 
o'clock, I went to a sale at a farm, which the farmer is quitting. 
Here I had a view of what has long been going on all over the 
country. The farm, which belongs to Christ's Hospital, has 
been held by a man of the name of Charington, in whose family 
the lease has been, I hear, a great number of years. The house 
is hidden by trees. It stands in the Weald of Surrey, close by 
the River Mole, which is here a mere rivulet, though just below 
this house the rivulet supplies the very prettiest flour-mill I ever 
saw in my life. 

Everything about this farm-house was formerly the scene of 
plain manners and plentiful living. Oak clothes-chests, oak 
bedsteads, oak chests of drawers, and oak tables to eat on, long, 
strong, and well supplied with joint stools. Some of the things 
were many hundreds of years old. But all appeared to be in a 
state of decay and nearly of disuse. There appeared to have 
been hardly any family in that house, where formerly there were, 
in all probability, from ten to fifteen men, boys, and maids: 
and, which was the worst of all, there was a parlour. Aye, and 


266 Rural Rides 

a carpet and bell-pull too ! One end of the front of this once plain 
and substantial house had been moulded into a " parlour ; " 
and there was the mahogany table, and the fine chairs, and the 
fine glass, and all as bare-faced upstart as any stock-jobber in 
the kingdom can boast of. And there were the decanters, the 
glasses, the " dinner-set " of crockery-ware, and all just in the 
true stock-jobber style. And I dare say it has been 'Squire 
Charington and the Miss Charington's; and not plain Master 
Charington, and his son Hodge, and his daughter Betty Charing- 
ton, all of whom this accursed system has, in all likelihood, 
transmuted into a species of mock gentlefolks, while it has 
ground the labourers down into real slaves. Why do not 
farmers now feed and lodge their work-people, as they did 
formerly? Because they cannot keep them upon so little as 
they give them in wages. This is the real cause of the change. 
There needs no more to prove that the lot of the working classes 
has become worse than it formerly was. This fact alone is quite 
sufficient to settle this point. All the world knows that a 
number of people, boarded in the same house, and at the same 
table, can, with as good food, be boarded much cheaper than 
those persons divided into twos, threes, or fours, can be boarded. 
This is a well-known truth: therefore, if the farmer now shuts 
his pantry against his labourers, and pays them wholly in money, 
is it not clear that he does it because he thereby gives them a 
living cheaper to him ; that is to say, a worse living than formerly? 
Mind, he has a house for them ; a kitchen for them to sit in, bed- 
rooms for them to sleep in, tables, and stools, and benches, of 
everlasting duration. All these he has: all these cost him 
nothing; and yet so much does he gain by pinching them in 
wages that he lets all these things remain as of no use rather 
than feed labourers in the house. Judge, then, of the change 
that has taken place in the condition of these labourers ! And 
be astonished, if you can, at the pauperism and the crimes that 
now disgrace this once happy and moral England. 

The land produces, on an average, what it always produced, 
but there is a new distribution of the produce. This 'Squire 
Charington's father used, I dare say, to sit at the head of the 
oak-table along with his men, say grace to them, and cut up the 
meat and the pudding. He might take a cup of strong beer to 
himself, when they had none; but that was pretty nearly all 
the difference in their manner of living. So that all lived well. 
But the 'squire had many wine-decanters and wine-glasses and 
" a dinner set" and a " breakfast set" and " dessert knives ; " and 

Across Surrey 267 

these evidently imply carryings on and a consumption that must 
of necessity have greatly robbed the long oak table if it had 
remained fully tenanted. That long table could not share in the 
work of the decanters and the dinner set. Therefore, it became 
almost untenanted; the labourers retreated to hovels, called 
cottages; and instead of board and lodging, they got money; 
so little of it as to enable the employer to drink wine; but, then, 
that he might not reduce them to quite starvation, they were 
enabled to come to him, in the king's name, and demand food as 
paupers. And now, mind, that which a man receives in the 
king's name, he knows well he has by force ; and it is not in 
nature that he should thank anybody for it, and least of all the 
party from whom it is forced. Then, if this sort of force be insuffi- 
cient to obtain him enough to eat and to keep him warm, is it 
surprising if he think it no great offence against God (who 
created no man to starve) to use another sort of force more 
within his own control ? Is it, in short, surprising, if he resort 
to theft and robbery ? 

This is not only the natural progress, but it has been the 
progress in England. The blame is not justly imputed to 
'Squire Charington and his like: the blame belongs to the 
infernal stock- jobbing system. There was no reason to expect 
that farmers would not endeavour to keep pace, in point of show 
and luxury, with fund-holders, and with all the tribes that war 
and taxes created. Farmers were not the authors of the mischief; 
and now they are compelled to shut the labourers out of their 
houses, and to pinch them in their wages, in order to be able to 
pay their own taxes; and, besides this, the manners and the 
principles of the working class are so changed that a sort of self- 
preservation bids the farmer (especially in some counties) to 
keep them from beneath his roof. 

I could not quit this farm-house without reflecting on the 
thousands of scores of bacon and thousands of bushels of bread 
that had been eaten from the long oak-table which, I said to 
myself, is now perhaps going at last to the bottom of a bridge 
that some stock-jobber will stick up over an artificial river in his 

cockney garden. " By it shan't," said I, almost in a real 

passion: and so I requested a friend to buy it for me; and if he 
do so, I will take it to Kensington, or to Fleet Street, and keep 
it for the good it has done in the world. 

When the old farm-houses are down (and down they must 
come in time) what a miserable thing the countiy will be! 
Those that are now erected are mere painted shells, with a 

268 Rural Rides 

mistress within, who is stuck up in a place she calls a parlour, 
with, if she have children, the " young ladies and gentlemen ' 
about her: some showy chairs and a sofa (a sofa by all means): 
half a dozen prints in gilt frames hanging up: some swinging 
book-shelves with novels and tracts upon them: a dinner 
brought in by a girl that is perhaps better " educated ' ' than 
she: two or three nick-nacks to eat instead of a piece of bacon 
and a pudding: the house too neat for a dirty-shoed carter to be 
allowed to come into; and everything proclaiming to every 
sensible beholder that there is here a constant anxiety to make 
a show not warranted by the reality. The children (which is the 
worst part of it) are all too clever to work : they are all 
to be gentlefolks. Go to plough! Good God! What, " young 
gentlemen " go to plough ! They become clerks, or some skimmy- 
dish thing or other. They flee from the dirty work as cunning 
horses do from the bridle. What misery is all this ! W T hat a 
mass of materials for producing that general and dreadful con- 
vulsion that must, first or last, come and blow this funding and 
jobbing and enslaving and starving system to atoms ! 

I was going, to-day, by the side of a plat of ground, where 
there was a very fine flock of turkeys. I stopped to admire 
them, and observed to the owner how fine they were, when he 
answered, " We owe them entirely to you, sir, for we never raised 
one till we read your Cottage Economy" I then told him that 
we had, this year, raised two broods at Kensington, one black 
and one white, one of nine and one of eight; but that, about 
three weeks back, they appeared to become dull and pale about 
the head; and that, therefore, I sent them to a farm-house, 
where they recovered instantly, and the broods being such a 
contrast to each other in point of colour, they were now, when 
prowling over a grass field, amongst the most agreeable sights that 
I had ever seen. I intended, of course, to let them get their full 
growth at Kensington, where they were in a grass plat about 
fifteen yards square, and where I thought that the feeding of 
them, in great abundance, with lettuces and other greens from 
the garden, together with grain, would carry them on to perfec- 
tion. But I found that I was wrong; and that though you 
may raise them to a certain size in a small place and with such 
management, they then, if so much confined, begin to be sickly. 
Several of mine began actually to droop : and the very day they 
were sent into the country, they became as gay as ever, and in 
three days all the colour about their heads came back to them. 

This town of Reigate had, in former times, a priory, which 

Across Surrey 269 

had considerable estates in the neighbourhood; and this is 
brought to my recollection by a circumstance which has recently 
taken place in this very town. We all know how long it has 
been the fashion for us to take it for granted that the monasteries 
were bad things ; but of late I have made some hundreds of 
thousands of very good Protestants begin to suspect that 
monasteries were better than poor-rates, and that monks and 
nuns, who fed the poor, were better than sinecure and pension 
men and women, who feed upon the poor. But how came the 
monasteries ! How came this that was at Reigate, for instance ? 
Why it was, if I recollect correctly, founded by a Surrey gentle- 
man, who gave this spot and other estates to it, and who, as was 
usual, provided that masses were to be said in it for his soul 
and those of others, and that it should, as usual, give aid to the 
poor and needy. 

Now, upon the face of the transaction, what harm could this 
do the community? On the contrary, it must, one would 
think, do it good ; for here was this estate given to a set of land- 
lords who never could quit the spot; who could have no families; 
who could save no money; who could hold no private property; 
who could make no will; who must spend all their income at 
Reigate and near it; who, as was the custom, fed the poor, 
administered to the sick, and taught some, at least, of the people, 
gratis. This, upon the face of the thing, seems to be a very good 
way of disposing of a rich man's estate. 

" Aye, but," it is said, " he left his estate away from his 
relations." That is not sure, by any means. The contrary is 
fairly to be presumed. Doubtless, it was the custom for Catholic 
priests, before they took their leave of a dying rich man, to 
advise him to think of the Church and the Poor ; that is to say, to 
exhort him to bequeath something to them; and this has been 
made a monstrous charge against that Church. It is surprising 
how blind men are, when they have a mind to be blind; what 
despicable dolts they are, when they desire to be cheated. We 
of the Church of England must have a special deal of good 
sense and of modesty, to be sure, to rail against the Catholic 
Church on this account, when our own Common Prayer Book, 
copied from an act of parliament, commands our parsons to do 
just the same thing I 

Ah! say the Dissenters, and particularly the Unitarians; that 
queer sect, who will have all the wisdom in the world to them- 
selves; who will believe and won't believe; who will be Chris- 
tians and who won't have a Christ ; who will laugh at you, if 

270 Rural Rides 

you believe in the Trinity, and who would (if they could) boil 
you in oil if you do not believe in the Resurrection: " Oh! " 
say the Dissenters, " we know very well that your Church parsons 
are commanded to get, if they can, dying people to give their 
money and estates to the Church and the poor, as they call the 
concern, though the poor, we believe, come in for very little 
which is got in this way. But what is your Church ? We are 
the real Christians; and we, upon our souls, never play such 
tricks; never, no never, terrify old women out of their stockings 
full of guineas." " And as to us," say the Unitarians, " we, 
the most liberal creatures upon earth; we, whose virtue is 
indignant at the tricks by which the monks and nuns got 
legacies from dying people to the injury of heirs and other 
relations; we, who are the really enlightened, the truly con- 
sistent, the benevolent, the disinterested, the exclusive patentees 
of the salt of the earth, which is sold only at, or by express per- 
mission from our old and original warehouse and manufactory, 
Essex Street, in the Strand, first street on the left, going from 
Temple Bar towards Charing Cross; we defy you to show that 
Unitarian parsons. . . ." 

Stop your protestations and hear my Reigate anecdote, which 
as I said above, brought the recollection of the Old Priory into 
my head. The readers of the Register heard me, several times, 
some years ago, mention Mr. Baron Maseres, who was, for a 
great many years, what they call Cursitor Baron of the Ex- 
chequer. He lived partly in London and partly at Reigate, 
for more, I believe, than half a century; and he died, about 
two years ago, or less, leaving, I am told, more than a quarter of 
a million of money. The Baron came to see me, in Pall Mall, 
in 1800. He always came frequently to see me, wherever I was 
in London; not by any means omitting to come to see me in 
Newgate, where I was imprisoned for two years, with a thousand 
pounds fine and seven years' heavy bail, for having expressed 
my indignation at the flogging of Englishmen, in the heart of 
England, under a guard of German bayonets; and to Newgate 
he always came in his wig and gown, in order, as he said, to show 
his abhorrence of the sentence. I several times passed a week, 
or more, with the Baron at his house, at Reigate, and might 
have passed many more, if my time and taste would have 
permitted me to accept of his invitations. Therefore, I knew 
the Baron well. He was a most conscientious man; he was 
when I first knew him still a very clever man ; he retained all 
his faculties to a very great age; in 1815, I think it was, I got 

Across Surrey 271 

a letter from him, written in a firm hand, correctly as to grammar 
and ably as to matter, and he must then have been little short 
of ninety. He never was a bright man; but had always been 
a very sensible, just and humane man, and a man too who 
always cared a great deal for the public good; and he was the 
only man that I ever heard of, who refused to have his salary 
augmented, when an augmentation was offered, and when all 
other such salaries were augmented. I had heard of this: I 
asked him about it when I saw him again; and he said: " There 
was no work to be added, and I saw no justice in adding to the 
salary. It must," added he, " be paid by somebody, and the 
more I take, the less that somebody must have." 

He did not save money for money's sake. He saved it because 
his habits would not let him spend it. He kept a house in 
Rathbone Place, chambers in the Temple, and his very pretty 
place at Reigate. He was by no means stingy, but his scale 
and habits were cheap. Then, consider, too, a bachelor of 
nearly a hundred years old. His father left him a fortune, his 
brother (who also died a very old bachelor), left him another; 
and the money lay in the funds, and it went on doubling itself 
over and over again, till it became that immense mass which we 
have seen above, and which, when the Baron was making his 
will, he had neither Catholic priest nor Protestant parson to 
exhort him to leave to the Church and the poor, instead of his 
relations; though, as we shall presently see, he had somebody 
else to whom to leave his great heap of money. 

The Baron was a most implacable enemy of the Catholics, as 
Catholics. There was rather a peculiar reason for this, his 
grandfather having been a French Hugonot and having fled 
with his children to England, at the time of the revocation of 
the Edict of Nantz. The Baron was a very humane man ; his 
humanity made him assist to support the French emigrant 
priests ; but, at the same time, he caused Sir Richard Musgrave's 
book against the Irish Catholics to be published at his own 
expense. He and I never agreed upon this subject; and this 
subject was, with him, a vital one. He had no asperity in his 
nature; he was naturally all gentleness and benevolence; and, 
therefore, he never resented what I said to him on this subject 
(and which nobody else ever, I believe, ventured to say to him): 
but he did not like it; and he liked it the less because I cer- 
tainly beat him in the argument. However, this was long 
before he visited me in Newgate: and it never produced (though 
the dispute was frequently revived) any difference in his conduct 

272 Rural Rides 

towards me, which was uniformly friendly to the last time I saw 
him before his memory was gone. 

There was great excuse for the Baron. From his very birth 
he had been taught to hate and abhor the Catholic religion. 
He had been told that his father and mother had been driven 
out of France by the Catholics: and there was that mother 
dinning this in his ears, and all manner of horrible stories along 
with it, during all the tender years of his life. In short, the 
prejudice made part of his very frame. In the year 1803, in 
August, I think it was, I had gone down to his house on a 
Friday, and was there on a Sunday. After dinner he and I 
and his brother walked to the Priory, as is still called the mansion 
house, in the dell at Reigate, which is now occupied by Lord 
Eastnor, and in which a Mr. Birket, I think, then lived. After 
coming away from the Priory, the Baron (whose native place 
was Betchworth, about two or three miles from Reigate), who 
knew the history of every house and everything else in this part 
of the country, began to tell me why the place was called the 
Priory. From this he came to the superstition and dark igno- 
rance that induced people to found monasteries; and he dwelt 
particularly on the injustice to heirs and relations ; and he went 
on, in the usual Protestant strain, and with all the bitterness 
of which he was capable, against those crafty priests, who thus 
plundered families by means of the influence which they had 
over people in their dotage, or who were naturally weak-minded. 

Alas ! poor Baron ! he does not seem to have at all foreseen 
what was to become of his own money ! What would he have 
said to me, if I had answered his observations by predicting, 
that he would give his great mass of money to a little parson for 
that parson's own private use; leave only a mere pittance to his 
own relations; leave the little parson his house in which we 
were then sitting (along with all his other real property); that 
the little parson would come into the house and take possession ; 
and that his own relations (two nieces) would walk out ! Yet 
all this has actually taken place, and that, too, after the poor 
old Baron's four score years of jokes about the tricks of Popish 
priests, practised, in the dark ages, upon the ignorant and super- 
stitious people of Reigate. 

When I first knew the Baron he was a staunch Church of 
England man. He went to church every Sunday once, at least. 
He used to take me to Reigate church: and I observed that 
he was very well versed in his prayer book. But a decisive 
proof of his zeal as a Church of England man is, that he settled 

Across Surrey 273 

an annual sum on the incumbent of Reigate, in order to induce 
him to preach, or pray (I forget which), in the church, twice on 
a Sunday, instead of once; and in case this additional preaching, 
or praying, were not performed in Reigate church, the annuity 
was to go (and sometimes it does now go) to the poor of an 
adjoining parish, and not to those of Reigate, lest I suppose 
the parson, the overseers, and other ratepayers, might happen 
to think that the Baron's annuity would be better laid out in 
food for the bodies than for the souls of the poor; or, in other 
words, lest the money should be taken annually and added to 
the poor-rates to ease the purses of the farmers. 

It did not, I dare say, occur to the poor Baron (when he was 
making this settlement), that he was now giving money to make 
a church parson put up additional prayers, though he had, all 
his lifetime, been laughing at those who, in the dark ages, gave 
money for this purpose to Catholic priests. Nor did it, I dare 
say, occur to the Baron that, in his contingent settlement of the 
annuity on the poor of an adjoining parish he as good as de- 
clared his opinion that he distrusted the piety of the parson, 
the overseers, the churchwardens, and, indeed, of all the people 
of Reigate: yes, at the very moment that he was providing 
additional prayers for them, he in the very same parchment 
put a provision which clearly showed that he was thoroughly 
convinced that they, overseers, churchwardens, people, parson 
and all, loved money better than prayers. 

What was this, then? Was it hypocrisy; was it ostentation? 
No: mistake. The Baron thought that those who could not 
go to church in the morning ought to have an opportunity of 
going in the afternoon. He was aware of the power of money; 
but when he came to make his obligatory clause, he was com- 
pelled to do that which reflected great discredit on the very 
Church and religion which it was his object to honour and 

However, the Baron was a staunch churchman as this fact 
clearly proves : several years he had become what they call an 
Unitarian. The first time (I think) that I perceived this was 
in 1812. He came to see me in Newgate, and he soon began 
to talk about religion, which had not been much his habit. 
He went on at a great rate, laughing about the Trinity; and I 
remember that he repeated the Unitarian distich, which makes 
a joke of the idea of there being a devil, and which they all 
repeat to you, and at the same time laugh and look as cunning 
and as priggish as jackdaws; just as if they were wiser than all 

274 Rural Rides 

the rest in the world! I hate to hear the conceited and dis- 
gusting prigs seeming to take it for granted that they only are 
wise because others believe in the incarnation without being 
able to reconcile it to reason. The prigs don't consider that 
there is no more reason for the resurrection than for the incarna- 
tion ; and yet having taken it into their heads to come up again, 
they would murder you, if they dared, if you were to deny the 
resurrection. I do most heartily despise this priggish set for 
their conceit and impudence; but seeing that they want reason 
for the incarnation; seeing that they will have effects, here, 
ascribed to none but usual causes, let me put a question or two 
to them. 

1. Whence comes the white clover, that comes up and covers 
all the ground, in America, where hard-wood trees, after 
standing for thousands of years, have been burnt down? 

2. Whence come (in similar cases as to self-woods) the hurtle- 
berries in some places, and the raspberries in others? 

3. Whence come fish in new made places where no fish have 
ever been put? 

4. What causes horse-hair to become living things? 

5. What causes frogs to come in drops of rain, or those drops 
of rain to turn to frogs, the moment they are on the earth ? 

6. What causes musquitoes to come in rain water caught in 
a glass, covered over immediately with oil paper, tied down 
and so kept till full of these winged torments ? 

7. What causes flounders, real little flat fish, brown on one 
side, white on the other, mouth side-ways, with tail, fins, 
and all, leaping alive, in the inside of a rotten sheep's, and 
of every rotten sheep's, liver ? 

There, prigs; answer these questions. Fifty might be given 
you ; but these are enough. Answer these. I suppose you will 
not deny the facts? They are all notoriously true. The last, 
which of itself would be quite enough for you, will be attested 
on oath, if you like it, by any farmer, ploughman, and shepherd 
in England. Answer this question 7, or hold your conceited 
gabble about the " impossibility " of that which I need not here 

Men of sense do not attempt to discover that which it is 
impossible to discover. They leave things pretty much as they 

Across Surrey 275 

find them ; and take care, at least, not to make changes of any 
sort without very evident necessity. The poor Baron, however, 
appeared to be quite eaten up with his " rational Christianity/' 
He talked like a man who has made a discovery of his own. He 
seemed as pleased as I, when I was a boy, used to be, when I had 
just found a rabbit's stop, or a blackbird's nest full of young 
ones. I do not recollect what I said upon this occasion. It is 
most likely that I said nothing in contradiction to him. I saw 
the Baron many times after this, but I never talked with him 
about religion. 

Before the summer of 1822, I had not seen him for a year or 
two, perhaps. But in July of that year, on a very hot day, I 
was going down Rathbone Place, and, happening to cast my eye 
on the Baron's house, I knocked at the door to ask how he was. 
His man-servant came to the door, and told me that his master 
was at dinner. " Well," said I, "never mind; give my best 
respects to him." But the servant (who had always been with 
him since I knew him) begged me to come in, for that he was sure 
his master would be glad to see me. I thought, as it was likely 
that I might never see him again, I would go in. The servant 
announced me, and the Baron said, " Beg him to walk in." 
In I went, and there I found the Baron at dinner; but not quite 
alone ; nor without spiritual as well as carnal and vegetable 
nourishment before him: for there, on the opposite side of his 
vis-a-vis dining table, sat that nice, neat, straight, prim piece of 
mortality, commonly called the Reverend Robert Fellowes, 
who was the chaplain to the unfortunate queen until Mr. Alder- 
man Wood's son came to supply his place, and who was now, 
I could clearly see, in a fair way enough. I had dined, and so 
I let them dine on. The Baron was become quite a child, or 
worse, as to mind, though he ate as heartily as I ever saw him, 
and he was always a great eater. When his servant said, " Here 
is Mr. Cobbett, sir; " he said, " How do you do, sir? I have 
read much of your writings, sir; but never had the pleasure to see 
your person before." After a time I made him recollect me; but 
he, directly after, being about to relate something about America, 
turned towards me and said, " Were you ever in America, sir? ' 
But I must mention one proof of the state of his mind. Mr. 
Fellowes asked me about the news from Ireland, where the 
people were then in a state of starvation (1822), and I answering 
that it was likely that many of them would actually be starved 
to death, the Baron, quitting his green goose and green pease, 
turned to me and said, " Starved, sir! Why don't they go to 

276 Rural Rides 

the parish ? >: " Why/' said I, " you know, sir, that there are 
no poor-rates in Ireland." Upon this he exclaimed, "What! 
no poor-rates in Ireland? Why not? I did not know that; 
I can't think how that can be." And then he rambled on in a 
childish sort of way. 

At the end of about half an hour, or it might be more, I shook 
hands with the poor old Baron for the last time, well convinced 
that I should never see him again, and not less convinced that 
I had seen his heir. He died in about a year or so afterwards, 
left to his own family about 20,000, and to his ghostly guide, 
the Holy Robert Fellowes, all the rest of his immense fortune, 
which, as I have been told, amounts to more than a quarter of a 
million of money. 

Now, the public will recollect that, while Mr. Fellowes was 
at the queen's, he was, in the public papers, charged with being 
an Unitarian, at the same time that he officiated as her chaplain. 
It is also well known that he never publicly contradicted this. 
It is, besides, the general belief at Reigate. However, this we 
know well, that he is a parson, of one sort or the other, and that 
he is not a Catholic priest. That is enough for me. I see this 
poor, foolish old man leaving a monstrous mass of money to 
this little Protestant parson, whom he had not even known 
more, I believe, than about three or four years. When the will 
was made I cannot say. I know nothing at all about that. 
I am supposing that all was perfectly fair; that the Baron had 
his senses when he made his will ; that he clearly meant to do 
that which he did. But, then, I must insist that, if he had left 
the money to a Catholic priest, to be by him expended on the 
endowment of a convent, wherein to say masses and to feed 
and teach the poor, it would have been a more sensible and 
public-spirited part in the Baron, much more beneficial to the 
town and environs of Reigate, and beyond all measure more 
honourable to his own memory. 

Friday Evening, 21 Oct. 

It has been very fine to-day. Yesterday morning there was 
snow on Reigate Hill, enough to look white from where we were 
in the valley. We set off about half-past one o'clock, and came 
all down the valley, through Buckland, Betch worth, Dorking, 
Sheer and Aldbury, to this place. Very few prettier rides in 
England, and the weather beautifully fine. There are more 

Across Surrey 277 

meeting-houses than churches in the vale, and I have heard of 
no less than five people, in this vale, who have gone crazy on 
account of religion. 

To-morrow we intend to move on towards the west; to take 
a look, just a look, at the Hampshire parsons again. The 
turnips seem fine; but they cannot be large. All other things 
are very fine indeed. Everything seems to prognosticate a hard 
winter. All the country people say that it will be so. 



Sunday Evening, 23 October, 1825. 

WE set out from Chilworth to-day about noon. This is a little 
hamlet, lying under the south side of St. Martha's Hill; and 
on the other side of that hill, a little to the north-west, is the 
town of Guildford, which (taken with its environs) I, who have 
seen so many, many towns, think the prettiest, and, taken all 
together, the most agreeable and most happy-looking that I 
ever saw in my life. Here are hill and dell in endless variety. 
Here are the chalk and the sand, vieing with each other in 
making beautiful scenes. Here is a navigable river and fine 
meadows. Here are woods and downs. Here is something of 
everything but fat marshes and their skeleton-making agues. 
The vale, all the way down to Chilworth from Reigate, is very 

We did not go to Guildford, nor did we cross the River Wey, 
to come through Godalming; but bore away to our left, and 
came through the village of Hambleton, going first to Hascomb 
to show Richard the South Downs from that high land, which 
looks southward over the Wealds of Surrey and Sussex, with 
all their fine and innumerable oak-trees. Those that travel on 
turnpike-roads know nothing of England. From Hascomb to 
Thursley almost the whole way is across fields, or commons, or 
along narrow lands. Here we see the people without any dis- 
guise or affectation. Against a great road things are made for 
show. Here we see them without any show. And here we gain 
real knowledge as to their situation. We crossed to-day three 
turnpike - roads, that from Guildford to Horsham, that from 
Godalming to Worthing, I believe, and that from Godalming 
to Chichester. 

Wednesday, 26 Oct. 

The weather has been beautiful ever since last Thursday morn- 
ing; but there has been a white frost every morning, and the 


Chilworth to Winchester 279 

days have been coldish. Here, however, I am quite at home 
in a room where there is one of my American fireplaces, 
bought by my host of Mr. Judson of Kensington, who has 
made many a score of families comfortable, instead of sitting 
shivering in the cold. At the house of the gentleman whose 
house I am now in, there is a good deal of fuel-wood; and here 
I see in the parlours those fine and cheerful fires that make 
a great part of the happiness of the Americans. But these fires 
are to be had only in this sort of fireplace. Ten times the fuel; 
nay, no quantity, would effect the same object, in any other 
fireplace. It is equally good for coal as for wood; but, for 
pleasure, a wood-fire is the thing. There is round about almost 
every gentleman's or great farmer's house more wood suffered 
to rot every year, in one shape or another, than would make 
(with this fireplace) a couple of rooms constantly warm, from 
October to June. Here, peat, turf, saw-dust, and wood, are 
burnt in these fireplaces. My present host has three of the 

Being out a-coursing to-day, I saw a queer-looking building 
upon one of the thousands of hills that nature has tossed up in 
endless variety of form round the skirts of the lofty Hindhead. 
This building is, it seems, called a Semaphore, or Semiphare, or 
something of that sort. What this word may have been hatched 
out of I cannot say; but it means a. job, I am sure. To call it an 
alarm-post would not have been so convenient; for people not 
endued with Scotch intellect might have wondered why the 
devil we should have to pay for alarm-posts; and might have 
thought that, with all our " glorious victories," we had " brought 
our hogs to a fine market " if our dread of the enemy were such 
as to induce us to have alarm-posts all over the country ! Such 
unintellectual people might have thought that we had " con- 
quered France by the immortal Wellington " to little purpose, 
if we were still in such fear as to build alarm-posts; and they 
might, in addition, have observed that for many hundred of 
years England stood in need of neither signal-posts nor standing 
army of mercenaries ; but relied safely on the courage and public 
spirit of the people themselves. By calling the thing by an out- 
landish name, these reflections amongst the unintellectual are 
obviated. Alarm-post would be a nasty name; and it would 
puzzle people exceedingly, when they saw one of these at a place 
like Ashe, a little village on the north side of the chalk-ridge 
(called the Hog's Back) going from Guildford to Farnham! 
What can this be for ? Why are these expensive things put up 

280 Rural Rides 

all over the country? Respecting the movements of whom is 
wanted this alarm-system ? Will no member ask this in parlia- 
ment? Not one: not a man: and yet it is a thing to ask about. 
Ah ! it is in vain, THING, that you thus are making your prepara- 
tions ; in vain that you are setting your trammels ! The debt, 
the blessed debt, that best ally of the people, will break them 
all; will snap them, as the hornet does the cobweb; and even 
these very " Semaphores " contribute towards the force of that 
ever -blessed debt. Curious to see how things work I The 
" glorious revolution," which was made for the avowed purpose 
of maintaining the Protestant ascendency, and which was 
followed by such terrible persecution of the Catholics; that 
" glorious " affair, which set aside a race of kings, because they 
were Catholics, served as the precedent for the American revolu- 
tion, also called " glorious," and this second revolution com- 
pelled the successors of the makers of the first to begin to cease 
their persecutions of the Catholics ! Then again, the debt was 
made to raise and keep armies on foot to prevent reform of 
parliament, because, as it was feared by the aristocracy, reform 
would have humbled them; and this debt, created for this 
purpose, is fast sweeping the aristocracy out of their estates, as 
a clown, with his foot, kicks field-mice out of their nests. There 
was a hope that the debt could have been reduced by stealth, 
as it were; that the aristocracy could have been saved in this 
way. That hope now no longer exists. In all likelihood the 
funds will keep going down. What is to prevent this, if the 
interest of Exchequer Bills be raised, as the broadsheet tells 
us it is to be? What! the funds fall in time of peace; and the 
French funds not fall in time of peace! However, it will all 
happen just as it ought to happen. Even the next session of 
parliament will bring out matters of some interest. The thing 
is now working in the surest possible way. 

The great business of life, in the country, appertains, in some 
way or other, to the game, and especially at this time of .the 
year. If it were not for the game, a country life would be like 
an everlasting honeymoon, which would, in about half a century, 
put an end to the human race. In towns, or large villages, 
people make a shift to find the means of rubbing the rust off 
from each other by a vast variety of sources of contest. A 
couple of wives meeting in the street, and giving each other a 
wry look, or a look not quite civil enough, will, if the parties be 
hard pushed for a ground of contention, do pretty well. But 
in the country there is, alas! no such resource. Here are no 

Chilworth to Winchester 281 

walls for people to take of each other. Here they are so placed 
as to prevent the possibility of such lucky local contact. Here 
is more than room of every sort, elbow, leg, horse, or carriage, 
for them all. Even at church (most of the people being in the 
meeting-houses) the pews are surprisingly too large. Here, 
therefore, where all circumstances seem calculated to cause 
never-ceasing concord with its accompanying dullness, there 
would be no relief at all, were it not for the game. This, happily, 
supplies the place of all other sources of alternate dispute and 
reconciliation; it keeps all in life and motion, from the lord 
down to the hedger. When I see two men, whether in a market- 
room, by the way-side, in a parlour, in a church-yard, or even 
in the church itself, engaged in manifestly deep and most 
momentous discourse, I will, if it be any time between September 
and February, bet ten to one that it is, in some way or other, 
about the game. The wives and daughters hear so much of it 
that they inevitably get engaged in the disputes; and thus all 
are kept in a state of vivid animation. I should like very much 
to be able to take a spot, a circle of 12 miles in diameter, and 
take an exact account of all the time spent by each individual, 
above the age of ten (that is the age they begin at), in talking, 
during the game season of one year, about the game and about 
sporting exploits. I verily believe that it would amount, upon 
an average, to six times as much as all the other talk put to- 
gether; and, as to the anger, the satisfaction, the scolding, the 
commendation, the chagrin, the exultation, the envy, the 
emulation, where are there any of these in the country uncon- 
nected with the game ? 

There is, however, an important distinction to be made 
between hunters (including coursers) and shooters. The latter 
are, as far as relates to their exploits, a disagreeable class 
compared with the former; and the reason of this is, their doings 
are almost wholly their own; while, in the case of the others, 
the achievements are the property of the dogs. Nobody likes 
to hear another talk much in praise of his own acts, unless those 
acts have a manifest tendency to produce some good to the 
hearer; and shooters do talk much of their own exploits, and 
those exploits rather tend to humiliate the hearer. Then, a 
greater shooter will, nine times out of ten, go so far as almost to 
lie a little ; and though people do not tell him of it, they do not 
like him the better for it; and he but too frequently discovers 
that they do not believe him: whereas, hunters are mere 
followers of the dogs, as mere spectators; their praises, if any 

282 Rural Rides 

are called for, are bestowed on the greyhounds, the hounds, the 
fox, the hare, or the horses. There is a little rivalship in the 
riding, or in the behaviour of the horses; but this has so little 
to do with the personal merit of the sportsmen, that it never 
produces a want of good fellowship in the evening of the day. 
A shooter who has been missing all day, must have an uncommon 
share of good sense not to feel mortified while the slaughterers 
are relating the adventures of that day; and this is what 
cannot exist in the case of the hunters. Bring me into a room, 
with a dozen men in it, who have been sporting all day; or 
rather let me be in an adjoining room, where I can hear the 
sound of their voices, without being able to distinguish the 
words, and I will bet ten to one that I tell whether they be 
hunters or shooters. 

I was once acquainted with a. famous shooter whose name was 
William Ewing. He was a barrister of Philadelphia, but became 
far more renowned by his gun than by his law cases. We spent 
scores of days together a shooting, and were extremely well 
matched, I having excellent dogs and caring little about my 
reputation as a shot, his dogs being good for nothing, and he 
caring more about his reputation as a shot than as a lawyer. 
The fact which I am going to relate respecting this gentleman 
ought to be a warning to young men how they become enamoured 
of this species of vanity. W 7 e had gone about ten miles from 
our home, to shoot where partridges were said to be very plentiful. 
We found them so. In the course of a November day, he had, 
just before dark, shot, and sent to the farm-house, or kept in his 
bag, ninety-nine partridges. He made some few double shots, 
and he might have a miss or two, for he sometimes shot when 
out of my sight, on account of the woods. However, he said 
that he killed at every shot; and as he had counted the birds, 
when he went to dinner at the farm-house and when he cleaned 
his gun, he, just before sunset, knew that he had killed ninety- 
nine partridges, every one upon the wing, and a great part, of 
them in woods very thickly set with largish trees. It was a 
grand achievement; but, unfortunately, he wanted to make it a 
hundred. The sun was setting, and, in that country, darkness 
comes almost at once; it is more like the going out of a candle 
than that of a fire ; and I wanted to be off, as we had a very bad 
road to go, and as he, being under strict petticoat government, 
to which he most loyally and dutifully submitted, was compelled 
to get home that night, taking me with him, the vehicle (horse 
and gig) being mine. I, therefore, pressed him to come away, 

Chilworth to Winchester 283 

and moved on myself towards the house (that of old John Brown, 
in Bucks county, grandfather of that General Brown, who gave 
some of our whiskered heroes such a rough handling last war, 
which was waged for the purpose of " deposing James Madison "), 
at which house I would have stayed all night, but from which I 
was compelled to go by that watchful government, under which 
he had the good fortune to live. Therefore I was in haste to be 
off. No : he would kill the hundredth bird ! In vain did I talk of 
the bad road and its many dangers for want of moon. The poor 
partridges, which we had scattered about, were calling all around 
us; and, just at this moment, up got one under his feet, in a 
field in which the wheat was three or four inches high. He shot 
and missed. " That's it," said he, running as if to pick up the 
bird. " What! " said I, " you don't think you killed, do you? 
Why there is the bird now, not only alive, but calling in that 
wood; " which was at about a hundred yards' distance. He, 
in that form of words usually employed in such cases, asserted 
that he shot the bird and saw it fall; and I, in much about the 
same form of words, asserted that he had missed, and that I, with 
my own eyes, saw the bird fly into the wood. This was too 
much ! To miss once out of a hundred times ! To lose such a 
chance of immortality! He was a good-humoured man; I 
liked him very much; and I could not help feeling for him, when 
he said, " Well, sir, I killed the bird; and if you choose to go 
away and take your dog away, so as to prevent me from finding 
it, you must do it; the dog is yours, to be sure." ' The dog," 
said I, in a very mild tone, " why, Ewing, there is the spot; and 
could we not see it, upon this smooth green surface, if it were 
there? " However, he began to look about ; and I called the 
dog, and affected to join him in the search. Pity for his weak- 
ness got the better of my dread of the bad road. After walking 
backward and forward many times upon about twenty yards 
square with our eyes to the ground, looking for what both of us 
knew was not there, I had passed him (he going one way and I 
the other), and I happened to be turning round just after I had 
passed him, when I saw him, putting his hand behind him, 
take a partridge out of his bag and let it fall upon the ground I I 
felt no temptation to detect him, but turned away my head, and 
kept looking about. Presently he, having returned to the spot 
where the bird was, called out to me, in a most triumphant tone, 
" Here I here I Come here ! " I went up to him, and he, point- 
ing with his finger down to the bird, and looking hard in my face 
at the same time, said, " There, Cobbett; I hope that will be a 

Rural Rides 

warning to you never to be obstinate again ! " " Well/' said I, 
' come along: " and away we went as merry as larks. When 
we got to Brown's, he told them the story, triumphed over me 
most clamorously; and though he often repeated the story to 
my face, I never had the heart to let him know that I knew of 
the imposition, which puerile vanity had induced so sensible 
and honourable a man to be mean enough to practise. 

A professed shot is, almost always, a very disagreeable brother 
sportsman. He must, in the first place, have a head rather of 
the emptiest to pride himself upon so poor a talent. Then he is 
always out of temper, if the game fail, or if he miss it. He never 
participates in that great delight which all sensible men enjoy at 
beholding the beautiful action, the docility, the zeal, the wonder- 
ful sagacity of the pointer and the setter. He is always thinking 
about himself : always anxious to surpass his companions. I 
remember that, once, Ewing and I had lost our dog. We were 
in a wood, and the dog had gone out and found a covey in a 
wheat stubble joining the wood. We had been whistling and 
calling him for, perhaps, half an hour or more. When we came 
out of the wood we saw him pointing, with one foot up; and 
soon after, he, keeping his foot and body unmoved, gently 
turned round his head towards the spot where he heard us, as il 
to bid us come on, and when he saw that we saw him, turned 
his head back again. I was so delighted that I stopped to look 
with admiration. Ewing, astonished at my want of alacrity, 
pushed on, shot one of the partridges, and thought no more 
about the conduct of the dog than if the sagacious creature had 
had nothing at all to do with the matter. When I left America, 
in 1800, 1 gave this dog to Lord Henry Stuart, who was, when he 
came home a year or two afterwards, about to bring him to 
astonish the sportsmen even in England; but those of Penn- 
sylvania were resolved not to part with him, and therefore they 
stole him the night before his lordship came away. Lord Henry 
had plenty of pointers after his return, and he saw hundreds; 
but always declared that he never saw anything approaching in 
excellence this American dog. For the information of sports- 
men I ought to say that this was a small-headed and sharp- 
nosed pointer, hair as fine as that of a greyhound, liitle and short 
ears, very light in the body, very long legged, and swift as a good 
lurcher. I had him a puppy, and he never had any breaking, but 
he pointed staunchly at once; and I am of opinion that this sort 
is, in all respects, better than the heavy breed. Mr. Thornton 
(I beg his pardon, I believe he is now a knight of some sort), who 

Chilworth to Winchester 285 

was, and perhaps still is, our envoy in Portugal, at the time here 
referred to was a sort of partner with Lord Henry in this famous 
dog; and gratitude (to the memory of the dog I mean) will, 
I am sure, or at least, I hope so, make him bear witness to the 
truth of my character of him; and if one could hear an 
ambassador speak out, I think that Mr. Thornton would acknow- 
ledge that his calling has brought him in pretty close contact 
with many a man who was possessed of most tremendous political 
power, without possessing half the sagacity, half the understand- 
ing, of this dog, and without being a thousandth part so faithful 
to his trust. 

I am quite satisfied that there are as many sorts of men as 
there are of dogs. Swift was a man, and so is Walter the base. 
But is the sort the same? It cannot be education alone that 
makes the amazing difference that we see. Besides, we see men 
of the very same rank and riches and education differing as 
widely as the pointer does from the pug. The name, man, is 
common to all the sorts, and hence arises very great mischief. 
What confusion must there be in rural affairs, if there were no 
names whereby to distinguish hounds, greyhounds, pointers, 
spaniels, terriers, and sheep dogs, from each other! And what 
pretty work if, without regard to the sorts of dogs, men were to 
attempt to employ them I Yet this is done in the case of men I 
A man is always a man ; and without the least regard as to 
the sort, they are promiscuously placed in all kinds of situations. 
Now, if Mr. Brougham, Doctors Birkbeck, Macculloch and 
Black, and that profound personage, Lord John Russell, will, 
in their forthcoming " London University," teach us how to 
divide men into sorts, instead of teaching us to " augment the 
capital of the nation " by making paper-money, they will render 
us a real service. That will be feelosofy worth attending to. 
What would be said of the 'squire who should take a fox-hound 
out to find partridges for him to shoot at? Yet would this be 
more absurd than to set a man to law-making who was manifestly 
formed for the express purpose of sweeping the streets or digging 
out sewers ? 


Thursday, 27 Oct. 

We came over the heath from Thursley, this morning, on our 
way to Winchester. Mr. Wyndham's fox-hounds are coming 
to Thursley on Saturday. More than three-fourths of all the 
interesting talk in that neighbourhood, for some days past, has 

286 Rural Rides 

been about this anxiously looked-for event. I have seen no 
man, or boy, who did not talk about it. There had been a false 
report about it; the hounds did not come ; and the anger of the 
disappointed people was very great. At last, however, the 
authentic intelligence came, and I left them all as happy as if all 
were young and all just going to be married. An abatement 
of my pleasure, however, on this joyous occasion was, that I 
brought away with me one, who was as eager as the best of them. 
Richard, though now only u years and 6 months old, had, it 
seems, one fox-hunt, in Herefordshire, last winter; and he 
actually has begun to talk rather contemptuously of hare hunting. 
To show me that he is in no danger, he has been leaping his horse 
over banks and ditches by the road side, all our way across the 
country from Reigate; and he joined with such glee in talking 
of the expected arrival of the fox-hounds that I felt some little 
pain at bringing him away. My engagement at Winchester is 
for Saturday; but if it had not been so, the deep and hidden ruts 
in the heath, in a wood in the midst of which the hounds are sure 
to find, and the immense concourse of horsemen that is sure to be 
assembled, would have made me bring him away. Upon the 
high, hard and open countries I should not be afraid for him, 
but here the danger would have been greater than it would 
have been right for me to suffer him to run. 

We came hither by the way of Waverley Abbey and Moore 
Park. On the commons I showed Richard some of my old hunt- 
ing scenes, when I was of his age, or younger, reminding him 
that I was obliged to hunt on foot. We got leave to go and see 
the grounds at Waverley where all the old monks' garden walls 
are totally gone, and where the spot is become a sort of lawn. I 
showed him the spot where the strawberry garden was, and 
where I, when sent to gather hautboys, used to eat every remark- 
ably fine one, instead of letting it go to be eaten by Sir Robert 
Rich. I showed him a tree, close by the ruins of the Abbey, 
from a limb of which I once fell into the river, in an attempt to 
take the nest of a crow, which had artfully placed it upon a 
branch so far from the trunk as not to be able to bear the weight 
of a boy eight years old. I showed him an old elm-tree, which 
was hollow even then, into which I, when a very little boy, once 
saw a cat go, that was as big as a middle-sized spaniel dog, for 
relating which I got a great scolding, for standing to which I, at 
last, got a beating; but stand to which I still did. I have since 
many times repeated it; and I would take my oath of it to this 
day. When in New Brunswick I saw the great wild grey cat, 

Chilworth to Winchester 287 

which is there called a Lucifee ; and it seemed to me to be just 
such a cat as I had seen at Waverley. I found the ruins not very 
greatly diminished; but it is strange how small the mansion, 
and ground, and everything but the trees, appeared to me. 
They were all great to my mind when I saw them last; and that 
early impression had remained, whenever I had talked or 
thought of the spot; so that, when I came to see them again, 
after seeing the sea and so many other immense things, it seemed 
as if they had all been made small. This was not the case with 
regard to the trees, which are nearly as big here as they are any 
where else; and the old cat-elm, for instance, which Richard 
measured with his whip, is about 1 6 or 17 feet round. 

From Waverley we went to Moore Park, once the seat of Sir 
William Temple, and when I was a very little boy, the seat of 
a lady, or a Mrs. Temple. Here I snowed Richard Mother 
Ludlum's Hole; but, alas! it is not the enchanting place that I 
knew it, nor that which Grose describes in his Antiquities ! The 
semicircular paling is gone; the basins, to catch the never- 
ceasing little stream, are gone; the iron cups, fastened by chains, 
for people to drink out of, are gone; the pavement all broken to 
pieces; the seats for people to sit on, on both sides of the cave, 
torn up and gone; the stream that ran down a clean paved 
channel now making a dirty gutter; and the ground opposite, 
which was a grove, chiefly of laurels, intersected by closely 
mowed grass-walks, now become a poor, ragged-looking alder- 
coppice. Near the mansion, I showed Richard the hill upon 
which Dean Swift tells us he used to run for exercise, while he 
was pursuing his studies here; and I would have showed him 
the garden-seat, under which Sir William Temple's heart was 
buried, agreeably to his will; but the seat was gone, also the 
wall at the back of it; and the exquisitely beautiful little lawn 
in which the seat stood was turned into a parcel of divers- 
shaped cockney-clumps, planted according to the strictest rules 
of artificial and refined vulgarity. 

At Waverley, Mr. Thompson, a merchant of some sort, has 
succeeded (after the monks) the Orby Hunters and Sir Robert 
Rich. At Moore Park, a Mr. Laing, a West India planter or 
merchant, has succeeded the Temples; and at the castle of 
Farnham, which you see from Moore Park, Bishop Prettyman 
Tomline has, at last, after perfectly regular and due gradations, 
succeeded William of Wykham ! In coming up from Moore 
Park to Farnham town, I stopped opposite the door of a little 
old house, where there appeared to be a great parcel of children. 

288 Rural Rides 

' There, Dick/' said I, " when I was just such a little creature 
as that whom you see in the door-way, I lived in this very house 
with my grandmother Cobbett." He pulled up his horse, and 
looked very hard at it, but said nothing, and on we came. 

Sunday Noon, 30 Oct. 

We came away from Farnham about noon on Friday, promis- 
ing Bishop Prettyman to notice him and his way of living more 
fully on our return. At Alton we got some bread and cheese at 
a friend's, and then came to Alresford by Medstead, in order to 
have fine turf to ride on, and to see on this lofty land that which 
is, perhaps, the finest beech-wood in all England. These high 
down countries are not garden plats, like Kent; but they have, 
from my first seeing them, when I was about ten, always been my 
delight. Large sweeping downs, and deep dells here and there, 
with villages amongst lofty trees, are my great delight. When 
we got to Alresford it was nearly dark, and not being able to find 
a room to our liking, we resolved to go, though in the dark, to 
Easton, a village about six miles from Alresford down by the side 
of the Hichen River. 

Coming from Easton yesterday, I learned that Sir Charles 
Ogle, the eldest son and successor of Sir Chaloner Ogle, had sold, 
to some general, his mansion and estate at Martyr's Worthy, a 
village on the north side of the Hichen, just opposite Easton. 
The Ogles had been here for a couple of centuries perhaps. They 
are gone off now, " for good and all," as the country people call 
it. Well, what I have to say to Sir Charles Ogle upon this 
occasion is this : " It was you, who moved at the county meeting, 
in 1817, that Address to the Regent, which you brought ready 
engrossed upon parchment, which Fleming, the sheriff, declared 
to have been carried, though a word of it never was heard by 
the meeting; which address applauded the power of imprison- 
ment bill, just then passed; and the like of which address you 
will not in all human probability ever again move in Hampshire, 
and, I hope, nowhere else. So, you see, Sir Charles, there is one 
consolation, at any rate." 

I learned, too, that Greame, a famously loyal 'squire and 
justice, whose son was, a few years ago, made a distributor of 
stamps in this county, was become so modest as to exchange his 
big and ancient mansion at Cheriton, or somewhere there, for a 
very moderate-sized house in the town of Alresford! I saw his 

Chilworth to Winchester 289 

household goods advertised in the Hampshire newspaper, a little 
while ago, to be sold by public auction. I rubbed my eyes, or, 
rather, my spectacles, and looked again and again; for I re- 
membered the loyal 'squire; and I, with singular satisfaction, 
record this change in his scale of existence, which has, no doubt, 
proceeded solely from that prevalence of mind over matter 
which the Scotch feelosofers have taken such pains to inculcate, 
and which makes him flee from greatness as from that which 
diminishes the quantity of " intellectual enjoyment " ; and so 
now he, 

" Wondering man can want the larger pile, 
Exults, and owns his cottage with a smile." 

And they really tell me that his present house is not much 
bigger than that of my dear, good old grandmother Cobbett. 
But (and it may not be wholly useless for the 'squire to know it) 
she never burnt candles ; but rushes dipped in grease, as I have 
described them in my Cottage Economy ; and this was one of the 
means that she made use of in order to secure a bit of good 
bacon and good bread to eat, and that made her never give me 
potatoes, cold or hot. No bad hint for the 'squire, father of the 
distributor of stamps. Good bacon is a very nice thing, I can 
assure him; and if the quantity be small, it is all the sweeter; 
provided, however, it be not too small. This 'squire used to be 
a great friend of Old George Rose. But his patron's taste was 
different from his. George preferred a big house to a little one: 
and George began with a little one, and ended with a big one. 

Just by Alresford, there was another old friend and supporter 
of Old George Rose, 'Squire Rawlinson, whom I remember a 
a very great 'squire in this county. He is now a police-' squire 
in London, and is one of those guardians of the Wen, respecting 
whose proceedings we read eternal columns in the broadsheet. 

This being Sunday, I heard, about 7 o'clock in the morning, 
a sort of a jangling, made by a bell or two in the cathedral. We 
were getting ready to be off, to cross the country to Burghclere, 
which lies under the lofty hills at Highclere, about 22 miles from 
this city; but hearing the bells of the cathedral, I took Richard 
to show him that ancient and most magnificent pile, and par- 
ticularly to show him the tomb of that famous bishop of Win- 
chester, William of Wykham; who was the chancellor and the 
minister of the great and glorious king, Edward III.; who 
sprang from poor parents in the little village of Wykham, three 
miles from Botley; and who, amongst other great and most 


290 Rural Rides 

munificent deeds, founded the famous college, or school, of 
Winchester, and also one of the colleges of Oxford. I told 
Richard about this as we went from the inn down to the cathedral ; 
and when I showed him the tomb, where the bishop lies on his 
back, in his Catholic robes, with his mitre on his head, his shep- 
herd's crook by his side, with little children at his feet, their 
hands put together in a praying attitude, he looked with a degree 
of inquisitive earnestness that pleased me very much. I took 
him as far as I could about the cathedral. The " service " was 
now begun. There is a dean, and God knows how many prebends 
belonging to this immensely rich bishopric and chapter: and 
there were, at this " service/' two or three men and five or six 
boys in white surplices, with a congregation of fifteen women and 
four men I Gracious God ! If William of Wykham could, at 
that moment, have been raised from his tomb ! If Saint Swithin, 
whose name the cathedral bears, or Alfred the Great, to whom St. 
Swithin was tutor: if either of these could have come, and had 
been told, that that was now what was carried on by men, who 
talked of the " damnable errors " of those who founded that 
very church ! But it beggars one's feelings to attempt to find 
words whereby to express them upon such a subject and such an 
occasion. How, then, am I to describe what I felt when I 
yesterday saw in Hyde Meadow a county bridewell standing on 
the very spot where stood the abbey which was founded and 
endowed by Alfred, which contained the bones of that maker 
of the English name, and also those of the learned monk, St. 
Grimbald, whom Alfred brought to England to begin the teaching 
at Oxford I 

After we came out of the cathedral, Richard said, " Why, 
papa, nobody can build such places now, can they? ' " No, 
my dear," said I. " That building was made when there were 
no poor wretches in England called paupers ; when there were 
no poor-rates ; when every labouring man was clothed in good 
woollen cloth; and when all had a plenty of meat and bread 
and beer." This talk lasted us to the inn, where, just as we 
were going to set off, it most curiously happened that a parcel 
which had come from Kensington by the night coach was put 
into my hands by the landlord, containing, amongst other things, 
a pamphlet, sent to me from Rome, being an Italian translation 
of No. I. of the Protestant Reformation. I will here insert the 
title for the satisfaction of Doctor Black, who, some time ago 
expressed his utter astonishment that " such a work should 
be published in the nineteenth century." Why, Doctor? Did 

Chilworth to Winchester 291 

you want me to stop till the twentieth century? That would 
have been a little too long, Doctor. 


Riforma Protestante 
In Inghilterra ed in Irlanda 

La quale Dimostra 
Come un tal' avvenimento ha impoverito 

E degradato il grosso del popolo in que' paesi 
in una serie di lettere indirizzate 
A tutti i sensati e guisti inglesi 

Guglielmo Cobbett 

Dall' inglese recate in italiano 

Dominico Gregorj. 

Roma 1825. 

Presso Francesco Bourlie. 
Con Approvazione. 

There, Doctor Black. Write you a book that shall be trans- 
lated into any foreign language; and when you have done that, 
you may again call mine " pig's meat." 



Monday Morning, 31 October, 1825. 

WE had, or I had, resolved not to breakfast at Winchester 
yesterday: and yet we were detained till nearly noon. But 
at last off we came, fasting. The turnpike-road from Winchester 
to this place comes through a village called Button Scotney, 
and then through Whitchurch, which lies on the Andover and 
London road, through Basingstoke. We did not take the cross- 
turnpike till we came to Whitchurch. We went to King's 
Worthy; that is about two miles on the road from Winchester 
to London; and then, turning short to our left, came up upon 
the downs to the north of Winchester race-course. Here, 
looking back at the city and at the fine valley above and below 
it, and at the many smaller valleys that run down from the high 
ridges into that great and fertile valley, I could not help admiring 
the taste of the ancient kings, who made this city (which once 
covered all the hill round about, and which contained 92 churches 
and chapels) a chief place of their residence. There are not 
many finer spots in England; and if I were to take in a circle 
of eight or ten miles of semi-diameter, I should say that I 
believe there is not one so fine. Here are hill, dell, water, 
meadows, woods, corn-fields, downs: and all of them very 
fine and very beautifully disposed. This country does not 
present to us that sort of beauties which we see about Guildford 
and Godalming, and round the skirts of Hindhead and Black- 
down, where the ground lies in the form that the surface-water 
in a boiling copper would be in, if you could, by word of com- 
mand, make it be still, the variously-shaped bubbles all sticking 
up; and really, to look at the face of the earth, who can help 
imagining that some such process has produced its present 
form ? Leaving this matter to be solved by those who laugh at 
mysteries, I repeat, that the country round Winchester does 
not present to us beauties of this sort ; but of a sort which I like 
a great deal better. Arthur Young calls the vale between 
Farnham and Alton the finest ten miles in England. Here is a 


Winchester to Burghclere 293 

river with fine meadows on each side of it, and with rising 
grounds on each outside of the meadows, those grounds having 
some hop-gardens and some pretty woods. But, though I was 
born in this vale, I must confess that the ten miles between 
Maidstone and Tunbridge (which the Kentish folks call the 
Garden of Eden) is a great deal finer; for here, with a river three 
times as big, and a vale three times as broad, there are, on rising 
grounds six times as broad, not only hop-gardens and beautiful 
woods, but immense orchards of apples, pears, plums, cherries 
and filberts, and these, in many cases, with gooseberries and 
currants and raspberries beneath; and, all taken together, the 
vale is really worthy of the appellation which it bears. But 
even this spot, which I believe to be the very finest, as to 
fertility and diminutive beauty, in this whole world, I, for my 
part, do not like so well; nay, as a spot to live on, I thing nothing 
at all of it, compared with a country where high downs prevail, 
with here and there a large wood on the top or the side of a hill, 
and where you see, in the deep dells, here and there a farm- 
house, and here and there a village, the buildings sheltered by 
a group of lofty trees. 

This is my taste, and here, in the north of Hampshire, it has 
its full gratification. I like to look at the winding side of a 
great down, with two or three numerous flocks of sheep on it, 
belonging to different farms ; and to see, lower down, the folds, 
in the fields, ready to receive them for the night. We had, 
when we got upon the downs, after leaving Winchester, this 
sort of country all the way to Whitchurch. Our point of 
destination was this village of Burghclere, which lies close under 
the north side of the lofty hill at Highclere, which is called 
Beacon-hill, and on the top of which there are still the marks of 
a Roman encampment. We saw this hill as soon as we got on 
Winchester downs ; and without any regard to roads, we steered 
for it, as sailors do for a land-mark. Of these 13 miles (from 
Winchester to Whitchurch) we rode about eight or nine upon the 
green-sward, or over fields equally smooth. And here is one 
great pleasure of living in countries of this sort: no sloughs, no 
ditches, no nasty dirty lanes, and the hedges, where there are 
any, are more for boundary marks than for fences. Fine for 
hunting and coursing: no impediments; no gates to open; 
nothing to impede the dogs, the horses, or the view. The water 
is not seen running ; but the great bed of chalk holds it, and the 
sun draws it up for the benefit of the grass and the corn; and 
whatever inconvenience is experienced from the necessity of 

294 Rural Rides 

deep wells, and of driving sheep and cattle far to water, is amply 
made up for by the goodness of the water, and by the complete 
absence of floods, of drains, of ditches and of water-furrows. 
As things now are, however, these countries have one great 
draw-back: the poor day-labourers suffer from the want of fuel, 
and they have nothing but their bare pay. For these reasons 
they are greatly worse off than those of the woodland countries; 
and it is really surprising what a difference there is between the 
faces that you see here, and the round, red faces that you see 
in the wealds and the forests, particularly in Sussex, where the 
labourers will have a meat-pudding of some sort or other; and 
where they will have afire to sit by in the winter. 

After steering for some time, we came down to a very fine 
farm-house, which we stopped a little to admire; and I asked 
Richard whether that was not a place to be happy in. The 
village, which we found to be Stoke-Charity, was about a mile 
lower down this little vale. Before we got to it, we overtook 
the owner of the farm, who knew me, though I did not know 
him ; but when I found it was Mr. Hinton Bailey, of whom and 
whose farm I had heard so much, I was not at all surprised at 
the fineness of what I had just seen. I told him that the word 
charity, making, as it did, part of the name of this place, had 
nearly inspired me with boldness enough to go to the farm- 
house, in the ancient style, and ask for something to eat; for 
that we had not yet breakfasted. He asked us to go back; 
but at Burghclere we were resolved to dine. After, however, 
crossing the village, and beginning again to ascend the downs, 
we came to a labourer's (once a farm-house}, where I asked the 
man whether he had any bread and cheese, and was not a little 
pleased to hear him say " Yes." Then I asked him to give 
us a bit, protesting that we had not yet broken our fast. He 
answered in the affirmative, at once, though I did not talk of 
payment. His wife brought out the cut loaf, and a piece of 
Wiltshire cheese, and I took them in hand, gave Richard a good 
hunch, and took another for myself. I verily believe that all 
the pleasure of eating enjoyed by all the feeders in London in 
a whole year does not equal that which we enjoyed in gnawing 
this bread and cheese, as we rode over this cold down, whip and 
bridle-reins in one hand, and the hunch in the other. Richard, 
who was purse bearer, gave the woman, by my direction, about 
enough to buy two quartern loaves: for she told me that they 
had to buy their bread at the mill, not being able to bake them- 
selves for want of fuel ; and this, as I said before, is one of the 

Winchester to Burghclere 295 

draw-backs in this sort of country. I wish every one of these 
people had an American fireplace. Here they might then, even 
in these bare countries, have comfortable warmth. Rubbish 
of any sort would, by this means, give them warmth. I am 
now, at six o'clock in the morning, sitting in a room where one 
of these fireplaces, with very light turf in it, gives as good and 
steady a warmth as it is possible to feel, and which room has, too, 
been cured of smoking by this fireplace. 

Before we got this supply of bread and cheese, we, though in 
ordinary times a couple of singularly jovial companions, and 
seldom going a hundred yards (except going very fast) without 
one or the other speaking, began to grow dull, or rather glum. 
The way seemed long; and, when I had to speak in answer to 
Richard, the speaking was as brief as might be. Unfortunately, 
just at this critical period, one of the loops that held the straps 
of Richard's little portmanteau broke; and it became necessary 
(just before we overtook Mr. Bailey) for me to fasten the port- 
manteau on before me, upon my saddle. This, which was not 
the work of more than five minutes, would, had I had a breakfast, 
have been nothing at all, and, indeed, matter of laughter. But, 
now, it was something. It was his "fault ' : for capering and 
jerking about " so." I jumped off, saying, " Here ! I'll carry it 
myself" And then I began to take off the remaining strap, 
pulling with great violence and in great haste. Just at this 
time my eyes met his, in which I saw great surprise ; and, feeling 
the just rebuke, feeling heartily ashamed of myself, I instantly 
changed my tone and manner, cast the blame upon the saddler, 
and talked of the effectual means which we would take to 
prevent the like in future. 

Now, if such was the effect produced upon me by the want of 
food for only two or three hours; me, who had dined well the 
day before and eaten toast and butter the over-night; if the 
missing of only one breakfast, and that, too, from my own whim, 
while I had money in my pocket, to get one at any public-house, 
and while I could get one only for asking for at any farm-house; 
if the not having breakfasted could, and under such circum- 
stances, make me what you may call " cross " to a child like this, 
whom I must necessarily love so much, and to whom I never 
speak but in the very kindest manner; if this mere absence of a 
breakfast could thus put me out of temper, how great are the 
allowances that we ought to make for the poor creatures who, in 
this once happy and now miserable country, are doomed to lead 
a life of constant labour and of half-starvation. I suppose that, 

296 Rural Rides 

as we rode away from the cottage, we gnawed up, between us, a 
pound of bread and a quarter of a pound of cheese. Here was 
about five-pence worth at present prices. Even this, which was 
only a mere snap, a mere stay-stomach, for us, would, for us two, 
come to 35. a week all but a penny. How, then, gracious God ! 
is a labouring man, his wife, and, perhaps, four or five small 
children, to exist upon 8s. or 95. a week ! Aye, and to find house- 
rent, clothing, bedding and fuel out of it? Richard and I ate 
here, at his snap, more, and much more, than the average of 
labourers, their wives and children, have to eat in a whole day, 
and that the labourer has to work on too ! 

When we got here to Burghclere, we were again as hungry as 
hunters. What, then, must be the life of these poor creatures? 
But is not the state of the country, is not the hellishness of the 
system, all depicted in this one disgraceful and damning fact, 
that the magistrates, who settle on what the labouring poor 
ought to have to live on, ALLOW THEM LESS THAN is ALLOWED TO 
FELONS IN THE GAOLS, and allow them nothing for clothing and 
fuel and house-rent I And yet, while this is notoriously the case, 
while the main body of the working class in England are fed 
and clad and even lodged wor3e than felons, and are daily 
becoming even worse and worse off, the king is advised to tell 
the parliament, and the world, that we are in a state of un- 
exampled prosperity, and that this prosperity must be permanent, 
because all the GREAT interests are prospering 1 THE WORK- 
What is to be the end of this? What can be the end of it, but 
dreadful convulsion ? What other can be produced by a system, 
which allows the felon better food, better clothing, and better 
lodging than the honest labourer ? 

I see that there has been a grand humanity-meeting in Norfolk, 
to assure the parliament that these humanity-people will back 
it in any measures that it may adopt for freeing the NEGROES. 
Mr. Buxton figured here, also Lord Suffield, who appear to have 
been the two principal actors, or showers-off. This same Mr. 
Buxton opposed the bill intended to relieve the poor in England 
by breaking a little into the brewers' monopoly; and, as to Lord 
Suffield, if he really wish to free slaves, let him go to Wykham 
in this county, where he will see some drawing, like horses, 
gravel to repair the roads for the stock-jobbers and dead-weight 
and the seat-dealers to ride smoothly on. If he go down a little 

Winchester to Burghclere 297 

harnessed in JUST THE SAME WAY ; but the convicts he will find 
hale and ruddy-cheeked, in dresses sufficiently warm, and 
bawling and singing; while he will find the labourers thin, 
ragged, shivering, dejected mortals, such as never were seen in 
any other country upon earth. There is not a negro in the West 
Indies who has not more to eat in a day than the average of 
English labourers have to eat in a week, and of better food too. 
Colonel Wodehouse and a man of the name of Hoseason (whence 
came he?), who opposed this humanity-scheme, talked of the 
sums necessary to pay the owners of the slaves. They took 
special care not to tell the humanity-men to look at home for 
slaves to free. No, no! that would have applied to themselves, 
as well as to Lord Suffield and humanity Buxton. If it were 
worth while to reason with these people, one might ask them, 
whether they do not think that another war is likely to relieve 
them of all these cares, simply by making the colonies transfer 
their allegiance or assert their independence? But to reason 
with them is useless. If they can busy themselves with com- 
passion for the negroes, while they uphold the system that makes 
the labourers of England more wretched, and beyond all measure 
more wretched than any negro slaves are, or ever were, or ever 
can be, they are unworthy of anything but our contempt. 

But the " education " canters are the most curious fellows 
of all. They have seen " education " as they call it, and crimes, 
go on increasing together, till the gaols, though six times their 
former dimensions, will hardly suffice; and yet the canting 
creatures still cry that crimes arise from want of what they call 
" education ! " They see the felon better fed and better clad 
than the honest labourer. They see this; and yet they con- 
tinually cry that the crimes arise from a want of " education ! " 
What can be the cause of this perverseness ? It is not perverse- 
ness: it is roguery, corruption, and tyranny. The tyrant, the 
unfeeling tyrant, squeezes the labourers for gain's sake; and the 
corrupt politician and literary or tub rogue find an excuse for 
him by pretending that it is not want of food and clothing, but 
want of education, that makes the poor, starving wretches 
thieves and robbers. If the press, if only the press, were to do 
its duty, or but a tenth part of its duty, this hellish system could 
not go on. But it favours the system by ascribing the misery 
to wrong causes. The causes are these : the tax-gatherer presses 
the landlord; the landlord the farmer; and the farmer the 
labourer. Here it falls at last; and this class is made so miser- 
able, that & felon's life is better than that of a labourer. Does 


Rural Rides 

there want any other cause to produce crimes? But on these 
causes, so clear to the eye of reason, so plain from experience, the 
press scarcely ever says a single word; while it keeps bothering 
our brains about education and morality; and about ignorance 
and immorality leading to felonies. To be sure immorality 
leads to felonies. Who does not know that? But who is to 
expect morality in a half-starved man, who is whipped if he do 
not work, though he has not, for his whole day's food, so much as 
I and my little boy snapped up in six or seven minutes upon 
Stoke-Charity down? Aye! but if the press were to ascribe 
the increase of crimes to the true causes, it must go further back. 
It must go to the cause of the taxes. It must go to the debt, the 
dead-weight, the thundering standing army, the enormous sine- 
cures, pensions, and grants; and this would suit but a very small 
part of a press, which lives and thrives principally by one or the 
other of these. 

As with the press, so is it with Mr. Brougham, and all such 
politicians. They stop short, or, rather, they begin in the 
middle. They attempt to prevent the evils of the deadly ivy by 
cropping off, or, rather, bruising a little, a few of its leaves. 
They do not assail even its branches, while they appear to look 
upon the trunk as something too sacred even to be looked at with 
vulgar eyes. Is not the injury recently done to about forty 
thousand poor families in and near Plymouth, by the Small-note 
Bill, a thing that Mr. Brougham ought to think about before he 
thinks anything more about educating those poor families? 
Yet, will he, when he again meets the ministers, say a word 
about this monstrous evil? I am afraid that no member will 
say a word about it; I am rather more than afraid that he will 
not. And why ? Because, if he reproach the ministers with 
this crying cruelty, they will ask him first, how this is to be 
prevented without a repeal of the Small-note Bill (by which 
Peel's Bill was partly repealed); then they will ask him how 
the prices are to be kept up without the small-notes; then they 
will say, " Does the honourable and learned gentleman wish to 
see wheat at four shillings a bushel again ? ' 

B. No (looking at Mr. Western and Daddy Coke), no, no, no ! 
Upon my honour, no ! 

MIN. Does the honourable and learned gentleman wish to see 
Cobbett again at county meetings, and to see petitions again 
coming from those meetings, calling for a reduction of the 
interest of the . . . ? 

B. No, no, no, upon my soul, no ! 

Winchester to Burghclere 299 

MIN. Does the honourable and learned gentleman wish to 
see that " equitable adjustment," which Cobbett has a thousand 
times declared can never take place without an application, to 
new purposes, of that great mass of public property, commonly 
called Church property? 

B. (Almost bursting with rage) How dare the honourable 
gentleman to suppose me capable of such a thought? 

MIN. We suppose nothing. We only ask the question; and 
we ask it, because to put an end to the small notes would 
inevitably produce all these things; and it is impossible to have 
small notes to the extent necessary to keep up prices, without 
having, now and then, breaking banks. Banks cannot break 
without producing misery; you must have the consequence, if 
you will have the cause. The honourable and learned gentle- 
man wants the feast without the reckoning. In short, is the 
honourable and learned gentleman for putting an end to " public 
credit " ? 

B. No, no, no, no ! 

MIN. Then would it not be better for the honourable and 
learned gentleman to hold his tongue ? 

All men of sense and sincerity will, at once, answer this last 
question in the affirmative. They will all say that this is not 
opposition to the ministers. The ministers do not wish to see 
40,000 families, nor any families at all (who give them no real 
annoyance}, reduced to misery; they do not wish to cripple their 
own tax-payers; very far from it. If they could carry on the 
debt and dead-weight and place and pension and barrack system, 
without reducing any quiet people to misery, they would like it 
exceedingly; But they do wish to carry on that system; and 
he does not oppose them who does not endeavour to put an end 
to the system. 

This is done by nobody in parliament; and, therefore, there 
is, in fact, no opposition ; and this is felt by the whole nation; 
and this is the reason why the people now take so little interest 
in what is said and done in parliament, compared to that which 
they formerly took. This is the reason why there is no man, or 
men, whom the people seem to care at all about. A great 
portion of the people now clearly understand the nature and 
effects of the system ; they are not now to be deceived by speeches 
and professions. If Pitt and Fox had now to start, there would 
be no " Pittites ' and " Foxites." Those happy days of 
political humbug are gone for ever. The " gentlemen opposite " 
are opposite only as to mere local position. They sit on the 

300 Rural Rides 

opposite side of the house: that's all. In every other respect 
they are like parson and clerk; or, perhaps, rather more like 
the rooks and jackdaws : one caw and the other chatter ; but both 
have the same object in view: both are in pursuit of the same 
sort of diet. One set is, to be sure, IN place, and the other OUT; 
but though the rooks keep the jackdaws on the inferior branches, 
these latter would be as clamorous as the rooks themselves 
against felling the tree ; and just as clamorous would the " gentle- 
men opposite " be against any one who should propose to put 
down the system itself. And yet, unless you do that, things 
must go on in the present way, and felons must be better fed than 
honest labourers ; and starvation and thieving and robbing and 
gaol-building and transporting and hanging and penal laws must 
go on increasing, as they have gone on from the day of the estab- 
lishment of the debt to the present hour. Apropos of penal 
laws, Doctor Black (of the Morning Chronicle) is now filling 
whole columns with very just remarks on the new and terrible 
law, which makes the taking of an apple felony ; but he says 
not a word about the silence of Sir Jammy (the humane code- 
softener] upon this subject! The "humanity and liberality' 
of the parliament have relieved men addicted to fraud and to 
certain other crimes from the disgrace of the pillory, and they 
have, since Castlereagh cut his own throat, relieved self-slayers 
from the disgrace of the cross-road burial; but the same parlia- 
ment, amidst all the workings of this rare humanity and liberality, 
have made it felony to take an apple off a tree, which last year 
was a trivial trespass, and was formerly no offence at all ! How- 
ever, even this is necessary, as long as this bank note system 
continue in its present way; and all complaints about severity 
of laws, levelled at the poor, are useless and foolish ; and these 
complaints are even base in those who do their best to uphold a 
system which has brought the honest labourer to be fed worse than 
the felon. What, short of such laws, can prevent starving men 
from coming to take away the dinners of those who have plenty? 
" Education I ' Despicable cant and nonsense ! What educa- 
tion, what moral precepts, can quiet the gnawings and ragings of 

Looking, now, back again, for a minute to the little village of 
Stoke Charity, the name of which seems to indicate that its 
rents formerly belonged wholly to the poor and indigent part of 
the community: it is near to Winchester, that grand scene of 
ancient learning, piety and munificence. Be this as it may, the 
parish formerly contained ten farms, and it now contains but 

Winchester to Burghclere 301 

two, which are owned by Mr. Hinton Bailey and his nephew, 
and, therefore, which may probably become one. There used to 
be ten well-fed families in this parish, at any rate : these, taking 
five to a family, made fifty well-fed people. And now all are 
half-starved, except the curate and the two families. The 
blame is not the landowner's; it is nobody's; it is due to the 
infernal funding and taxing system, which of necessity drives 
property into large masses in order to save itself ; which crushes 
little proprietors down into labourers; and which presses them 
down in that state, there takes their wages from them and 
makes them paupers, their share of food and raiment being 
taken away to support debt and dead-weight and army and all 
the rest of the enormous expenses, which are required to sustain 
this intolerable system. Those, therefore, are fools or hypocrites 
who affect to wish to better the lot of the poor labourers and 
manufacturers, while they, at the same time, either actively or 
passively, uphold the system which is the manifest cause of it. 
Here is a system which, clearly as the nose upon your face, you 
see taking away the little gentleman's estate, the little farmer's 
farm, the poor labourer's meat-dinner and Sunday-coat; and 
while you see this so plainly, you, fool or hypocrite, as you are, 
cry out for supporting the system that causes it all! Go on, 
base wretch; but remember, that of such a progress dreadful 
must be the end. The day will come when millions of long- 
suffering creatures will be in a state that they and you now little 
dream of. All that we now behold of combinations and the like 
are mere indications of what the great body of the suffering 
people feel, and of the thoughts that are passing in their minds. 
The coaxing work of schools and tracts will only add to what would 
be quite enough without them. There is not a labourer in the 
whole country who does not see to the bottom of this coaxing 
work. They are not deceived in this respect. Hunger has opened 
their eyes. I'll engage that there is not, even in this obscure 
village of Stoke Charity, one single creature, however forlorn, 
who does not understand all about the real motives of the school 
and the tract and Bible affair as well as Butterworth, or Riving- 
ton, or as Joshua Watson himself. 

Just after we had finished the bread and cheese, we crossed 
the turnpike-road that goes from Basingstoke to Stockbridge; 
and Mr. Bailey had told us that we were then to bear away to 
our right, and go to the end of a wood (which we saw one end of), 
and keep round with that wood, or coppice, as he called it, to our 
left; but we, seeing Beacon Hill more to the left, and resolving 

302 Rural Rides 

to go, as nearly as possible, in a straight line to it, steered directly 
over the fields; that is to say, pieces of ground from 30 to 100 
acres in each. But a hill which we had to go over, had here 
hidden from our sight a part ot this " coppice," which consists, 
perhaps, of 150 or 200 acres, and which we found sweeping 
round, in a crescent-like form so far, from towards our left, as to 
bring our land-mark over the coppice at about the mid-length 
of the latter. Upon this discovery we slackened sail; for this 
coppice might be a mile across ; and though the bottom was sound 
enough, being a coverlet of flints upon a bed of chalk, the under- 
wood was too high and too thick for us to face, being, as we were, 
at so great a distance from the means of obtaining a fresh supply 
of clothes. Our leather leggings would have stood anything; 
but our coats were of the common kind; and before we saw 
the other side of the coppice we should, I dare say, have been as 
ragged as forest-ponies in the month of March. 

In this dilemma I stopped, and looked at the coppice. Luckily 
two boys, who had been cutting sticks (to sell, I dare say, at 
least / hope so), made their appearance, at about half a mile off 
on the side for the coppice. Richard galloped off to the boys, 
from whom he found that, in one part of the coppice, there was 
a road cut across, the point of entrance into which road they 
explained to him. This was to us what the discovery of a canal 
across the isthmus of Darien would be to a ship in the Gulf of 
Mexico wanting to get into the Pacific without doubling Cape 
Horn. A beautiful road we found it. I should suppose the 
best part of a mile long, perfectly straight, the surface sound 
and smooth, about eight feet wide, the whole length seen at 
once, and, when you are at one end, the other end seeming to 
be hardly a yard wide. When we got about half way, we found 
a road that crossed this. These roads are, I suppose, cut for the 
hunters. They are very pretty, at any rate, and we found this 
one very convenient; for it cut our way short by a full half 

From this coppice to Whitchurch is not more than about 
four miles, and we soon reached it, because here you begin to 
descend into the vale in which this little town lies, and through 
which there runs that stream which turns the mill of 'Squire 
Portal, and which mill makes the Bank of England note-paper ! 
Talk of the Thames and the Hudson with their forests of masts; 
talk of the Nile and the Delaware bearing the food of millions 
on their bosoms; talk of the Ganges and the Mississippi sending 
forth over the world their silks and their cottons; talk of the 

Winchester to Burghclere 303 

Rio de la Plata and the other rivers, their beds pebbled with 
silver and gold and diamonds. What as to their effect on the 
condition of mankind, as to the virtues, the vices, the enjoy- 
ments and the sufferings of men; what are all these rivers put 
together compared with the river of Whitchurch, which a man 
of threescore may jump across dry-shod, which moistens a 
quarter of a mile wide of poor, rushy meadow, which washes the 
skirts of the park and game preserves of that bright patrician 
who wedded the daughter of Hanson, the attorney and late 
solicitor to the Stamp Office, and which is, to look at it, of far 
less importance than any gutter in the Wen! Yet this river, 
by merely turning a wheel, which wheel sets some rag-tearers 
and grinders and washers and re-compressers in motion, has 
produced a greater effect on the condition of men than has been 
produced on that condition by all the other rivers, all the seas, 
all the mines and all the continents in the world. The discovery 
of America, and the consequent discovery and use of vast 
quantities of silver and gold, did, indeed, produce great effects 
on the nations of Europe. They changed the value of money, 
and caused, as all such changes must, a transfer of property, 
raising up new families and pulling down old ones, a transfer 
very little favourable either to morality, or to real and sub- 
stantial liberty. But this cause worked slowly ; its consequences 
came on by slow degrees ; it made a transfer of property, but it 
made that transfer in so small a degree, and it left the property 
quiet in the hands of the new possessor for so long a time, that 
the effect was not violent, and was not, at any rate, such as to 
uproot possessors by whole districts, as the hurricane uproots 
the forests. 

Not so the product of the little sedgy rivulet of Whitchurch ! 
It has, in the short space of a hundred and thirty-one years, 
and, indeed, in the space of the last forty, caused greater changes 
as to property than had been caused by all other things put 
together in the long course of seven centuries, though during 
that course there had been a sweeping, confiscating Protestant 
reformation. Let us look back to the place where I started 
on this present rural ride. Poor old Baron Maseres succeeded 
at Reigate by little Parson Fellowes, and at Betchworth (three 
miles on my road) by Kendrick, is no bad instance to begin with; 
for the Baron was nobly descended, though from French 
ancestors. At Albury, fifteen miles on my road, Mr. Drummond 
(a banker) is in the seat of one of the Howards, and, close by, he 
has bought the estate, just pulled down the house, and blotted 

304 Rural Rides 

out the memory of the Godschalls. At Chilworth, two miles 
further down the same vale, and close under St. Martha's Hill, 
Mr. Tinkler, a powder-maker (succeeding Hill, another powder- 
maker, who had been a breeches-maker at Hounslow) has got 
the old mansion and the estate of the old Duchess of Marlborough, 
who frequently resided in what was then a large quadrangular 
mansion, but the remains of which now serve as out farm- 
buildings and a farm-house, which I found inhabited by a poor 
labourer and his family, the farm being in the hands of the 
powder-maker, who does not find the once noble seat good 
enough for him. Coming on to Waverley Abbey, there is Mr. 
Thompson, a merchant, succeeding the Orby Hunters and Sir 
Robert Rich. Close adjoining, Mr. Laing, a West India dealer 
of some sort, has stepped into the place of the lineal descendants 
of Sir William Temple. At Farnham the park and palace 
remain in the hands of a Bishop of Winchester, as they have 
done for about eight hundred years : but why is this ? Because 
they are public property; because they cannot, without express 
laws, be transferred. Therefore the product of the rivulet of 
Whitchurch has had no effect upon the ownership of these, 
which are still in the hands of a Bishop of Winchester; not of a 
William of Wykham, to be sure; but still in those of a bishop, 
at any rate. Coming on to old Alresford (twenty miles from 
Farnham) Sheriff, the son of a Sheriff, who was a commissary 
in the Ajnerican war, has succeeded the Gages. Two miles 
further on, at Abbotston (down on the side of the Itchen) 
Alexander Baring has succeeded the heirs and successors of the 
Duke of Bolton, the remains of whose noble mansion I once 
saw here. Not above a mile higher up, the same Baring has, 
at the Grange, with its noble mansion, park and estate, suc- 
ceeded the heirs of Lord Northington; and at only about two 
miles further, Sir Thomas Baring, at Stratton Park, has suc- 
ceeded the Russells in the ownership of the estates of Stratton 
and Micheldover, which were once the property of Alfred the 
Great! Stepping back, and following my road, down by the 
side of the meadows of the beautiful river Itchen, and coming to 
Easton, I look across to Martyr's Worthy, and there see (as I 
observed before) the Ogles succeeded by a general or a colonel 
somebody; but who, or whence, I cannot learn. 

This is all in less than four score miles, from Reigate even to 
this place where I now am. Oh ! mighty rivulet of Whitchurch ! 
All our properties, all our laws, all our manners, all our minds, 
you have changed ! This, which I have noticed, has all taken 

Winchester to Burghclere 305 

place within forty, and, most of it, within ten years. The small 
gentry, to about the third rank upwards (considering there to be 
five ranks from the smallest gentry up to the greatest nobility), 
are all gone, nearly to a man, and the small farmers along with 
them. The Barings alone have, I should think, swallowed up 
thirty or forty of these small gentry without perceiving it. 
They, indeed, swallow up the biggest race of all; but innumerable 
small fry slip down unperceived, like caplins down the throats 
of the sharks, while these latter/^/ only the cod-fish. It fre- 
quently happens, too, that a big gentleman or nobleman, whose 
estate has been big enough to resist for a long while, and who 
has swilled up many caplin-gentry, goes down the throat of the 
loan-dealer with all the caplins in his belly. 

Thus the Whitchurch rivulet goes on, shifting property from 
hand to hand. The big, in order to save themselves from being 

' swallowed up quick " (as we used to be taught to say, in our 
Church prayers against Buonaparte), make use of their voices 
to get, through place, pension, or sinecure, something back from 
the taxes. Others of them fall in love with the daughters and 
widows of paper-money people, big brewers, and the like; and 
sometimes their daughters fall in love with the paper-money 
people's sons, or the fathers of those sons; and whether they 
be Jews, or not, seems to be little matter with this all-subduing 
passion of love. But the small gentry have no resource. While 
war lasted, " glorious war," there was a resource; but now, alas ! 
not only is there no war, but there is no hope of war ; and not 
a few of them will actually come to the parish-book. There is no 
place for them in the army, church, navy, customs, excise, 
pension-list, or anywhere else. All these are now wanted by 

1 their betters." A stock-jobber's family will not look at such 
pennyless things. So that, while they have been the active, 
the zealous, the efficient instruments, in compelling the working 
classes to submit to half-starvation, they have at any rate been 
brought to the most abject ruin themselves; for which I most 
heartily thank God. The " harvest of war " is never to return 
without a total blowing up of the paper-system. Spain must 
belong to France, St. Domingo must pay her tribute. America 
must be paid for slaves taken away in war, she must have 
Florida, she must go on openly and avowedly making a navy 
for the purpose of humbling us; and all this, and ten times more, 
if France and America should choose; and yet we can have 
no war as long as the paper-system last; and if that cease, then 

what is to come I 


Rural Rides 


Sunday Morning, 6 November. 

It has been fine all the week, until to-day, when we intended 
to set off for Hurstbourn-Tarrant, vulgarly called Uphusband, 
but the rain seems as if it would stop us. From Whitchurch to 
within two miles of this place, it is the same sort of country 
as between Winchester and Whitchurch. High, chalk bottom, 
open downs or large fields, with here and there a farm-house 
in a dell, sheltered by lofty trees, which, to my taste, is the most 
pleasant situation in the world. 

This has been, with Richard, one whole week of hare-hunting, 
and with me, three days and a half. The weather has been 
amongst the finest that I ever saw, and Lord Caernarvon's 
preserves fill the country with hares, while these hares invite 
us to ride about and to see his park and estate, at this fine season 
of the year, in every direction. We are now on the north side 
of that Beacon Hill for which we steered last Sunday. This 
makes part of a chain of lofty chalk-hills and downs, which 
divides all the lower part of Hampshire from Berkshire, though 
the ancient ruler, owner, of the former took a little strip all 
along, on the flat, on this side of the chain, in order, I suppose, 
to make the ownership of the hills themselves the more clear of 
all dispute; just as the owner of a field-hedge and bank owns 
also the ditch on his neighbour's side. From these hills you 
look, at one view, over the whole of Berkshire, into Oxfordshire, 
Gloucestershire and Wiltshire, and you can see the Isle of Wight 
and the sea. On this north side the chalk soon ceases, the sand 
and clay begin, and the oak-woods cover a great part of the 
surface. Amongst these is the farm-house in which we are, 
and from the warmth and good fare of which we do not mean 
to stir until we can do it without the chance of a wet skin. 

This rain has given me time to look at the newspapers of about 
a week old. Oh, oh! The cotton lords are tearing! Thank 
God for that! The lords of the anvil are snapping! Thank 
God for that too ! They have kept poor souls, then, in a heat 
of 84 degrees to little purpose, after all. The " great interests ' 
mentioned in the king's speech do not, then, all continue to 
flourish ! The " prosperity ' was not, then, " permanent ' : 
though the king was advised to assert so positively that it 
was ! ; ' Anglo-Mexican and Pasco-Peruvian " fall in price, and 
the Chronicle assures me that " the respectable owners of the 
Mexican mining shares mean to take measures to protect their 

Winchester to Burghclere 307 

property" Indeed! Like protecting the Spanish bonds, I 
suppose? Will the Chronicle be so good as to tell us the names 
of these "respectable persons?' Doctor Black must know 
their names; or else he could not know them to be respectable. 
If the parties be those that I have heard, these mining works 
may possibly operate with them as an emetic, and make them 
throw up a part, at least, of what they have taken down. 

There has, I see, at New York been that confusion which I, 
four months ago, said would and must take place; that breaking 
of merchants and all the ruin which, in such a case, spreads 
itself about, ruining families and producing fraud and despair. 
Here will be, between the two countries, an interchange of cause 
and effect, proceeding from the dealings in cotton, until, first 
and last, two or three hundred thousands of persons have, at one 
spell of paper-money work, been made to drink deep of misery. 
I pity none but the poor English creatures who are compelled 
to work on the wool of this accursed weed, which has done so 
much mischief to England. The slaves who cultivate and gather 
the cotton are well fed. They do not suffer. The sufferers 
are those who spin it and weave it and colour it, and the wretched 
beings who cover with it those bodies which, as in the time 
of old Fortescue, ought to be " clothed throughout in good 

One newspaper says that Mr. Huskisson is gone to Paris, and 
thinks it likely that he will endeavour to " inculcate in the mind 
of the Bourbons wise principles oifree trade 1 " What the devil 
next ! Persuade them, I suppose, that it is for their good, that 
English goods should be admitted into France and into St. 
Domingo with little or no duty? Persuade them to make a 
treaty of commerce with him; and, in short, persuade them to 
make France help to pay the interest of our debt and dead-weight, 
lest our system of paper should go to pieces, and lest that should 
be followed by a radical reform, which reform would be injurious 
to ' the monarchical principle ! " This newspaper politician 
does, however, think that the Bourbons will be " too dull " to 
comprehend these " enlightened and liberal " notions; and I 
think so too. I think the Bourbons, or, rather, those who will 
speak for them, will say: " No thank you. You contracted 
your debt without our participation; you made your dead- 
weight for your own purposes; the seizure of our museums and 
the loss of our frontier towns followed your victory of Waterloo, 
though we were ' your Allies ' at the time; you made us pay an 
enormous tribute after that battle, and kept possession of part 

308 Rural Rides 

of France till we had paid it; you wished, the other day, to keep 
us out of Spain, and you, Mr. Huskisson, in a speech at Liverpool, 
called our deliverance of the King of Spain an unjust and un- 
principled act of aggression, while Mr. Canning prayed to God 
that we might not succeed. No thank you, Mr. Huskisson, no. 
No coaxing, sir: we saw, then, too clearly the advantage we 
derived from your having a debt and a dead-weight, to wish to 
assist in relieving you from either. ' Monarchical principle ' 
here, or ' monarchical principle ' there, we know that your 
mill-stone debt is our best security. We like to have your 
wishes, your prayers, and your abuse against us, rather than 
your subsidies and your fleets : and so, farewell, Mr. Huskisson: 
if you like, the English may drink French wine; but whether 
they do or not, the French shall not wear your rotten cottons. 
And, as a last word, how did you maintain the ' monarchical 
principle/ the ' paternal principle/ or as Castlereagh called it, 
the ' social system/ when you called that an unjust and un- 
principled aggression which put an end to the bargain by 
which the convents and other church-property of Spain were 
to be transferred to the Jews and jobbers of London? Bon 
jour, Monsieur Huskisson, ci-devant membre et orateur du club 
de quatre vingt neuf ! ' 

If they do not actually say this to him, this is what they 
will think; and that is, as to the effect, precisely the same thing. 
It is childishness to suppose that any nation will act from a 
desire of serving all other nations, or any one other nation, as well 
as itself. It will make, unless compelled, no compact by which 
it does not think itself a gainer ; and amongst its gains, it must, 
and always does, reckon the injury to its rivals. It is a stupid 
idea that all nations are to gain by anything. Whatever is the 
gain of one, must, in some way or other, be a loss to another. 
So that this new project of " free trade " and " mutual gain ' 
is as pure a humbug as that which the newspapers carried on, 
during the " glorious days " of loans, when they told us, at 
every loan, that the bargain was " equally advantageous to the 
contractors and to the public! ' The fact is the " free trade ' 
project is clearly the effect of a consciousness of our weakness. 
As long as we felt strong, we felt bold, we had no thought of 
conciliating the world; we upheld a system of exclusion, which 
long experience proved to be founded in sound policy. But we 
now find that our debts and our loads of various sorts cripple 
us. We feel our incapacity for the carrying of trade sword in 
hand: and so we have given up all our old maxims, and are 

Winchester to Burghclere 309 

endeavouring to persuade the world that we are anxious to 
enjoy no advantages that are not enjoyed also by our neigh- 
bours. Alas! the world sees very clearly the cause of all this; 
and the world laughs at us for our imaginary cunning. My old 
doggrel, that used to make me and my friends laugh in Long 
Island, is precisely pat to this case. 

When his maw was stuffed with paper, 
How John Bull did prance and caper! 
How he foam'd and how he roar'd: 
How his neighbours all he gored ! 
How he scrap'd the ground and hurl'd 
Dirt and filth on all the world ! 
But John Bull of paper empty, 
Though in midst of peace and plenty, 
Is modest grown as worn-out sinner, 
As Scottish laird that wants a dinner; 
As Wilberforce, become content 
A rotten burgh to represent ; 
As Blue and Buff, when, after hunting 
On Yankee coasts their " bits of bunting," 
Came softly back across the seas, 
And silent were as mice in cheese. 

Yes, the whole world, and particularly the French and the 
Yankees, see very clearly the course of this fit of modesty and 
of liberality into which we have so recently fallen. They know 
well that a war would play the very devil with our national 
faith. They know, in short, that no ministers in their senses 
will think of supporting the paper system through another war. 
They know well that no ministers that now exist, or are likely 
to exist, will venture to endanger the paper-system; and there- 
fore they know that (for England) they may now do just what 
they please. When the French were about to invade Spain, 
Mr. Canning said that his last despatch on the subject was to be 
understood as a protest, on the part of England, against per- 
manent occupation of any part of Spain by France. There the 
French are, however; and at the end of two years and a half 
he says that he knows nothing about any intention that they 
have to quit Spain, or any part of it. 

Why, Saint Domingo was independent. We had traded with 
it as an independent state. Is it not clear that if we had said 
the word (and had been known to be able to arm}, France would 
not have attempted to treat that fine and rich country as a 
colony ? Mark how wise this measure of France ! How just, too ; 
to obtain by means of a tribute from the St. Domingoians 
compensation for the loyalists of that country! Was this done 
with regard to the loyalists of America, in the reign of the good 

3 lo Rural Rides 

jubilee George III.? Oh, no! Those loyalists had to be paid, 
and many of them have even yet, at the end of more than half 
a century, to be paid out of taxes raised on us, for the losses 
occasioned by their disinterested loyalty! This was a master- 
stroke on the part of France; she gets about seven millions 
sterling in the way of tribute; she makes that rich island yield 
to her great commercial advantages; and she, at the same time, 
paves the way for effecting one of two objects; namely, getting 
the island back again, or throwing our islands into confusion, 
whenever it shall be her interest to do it. 

This might have been prevented by a word from us, if we had 
been ready for war. But we are grown modest ; we are grown 
liberal ; we do not want to engross that which fairly belongs 
to our neighbours! We have undergone a change, somewhat 
like that which marriage produces on a blustering fellow, who, 
while single, can but just clear his teeth. This change is quite 
surprising, and especially by the time that the second child 
comes, the man is loaded ; he looks like a loaded man; his voice 
becomes so soft and gentle compared to what it used to be. 
Just such are the effects of our load : but the worst of it is, our 
neighbours are not thus loaded. However, far be it from me to 
regret this, or any part of it. The load is the people's best friend. 
If that could, without reform ; if that could be shaken off, leaving 
the seat-men and the parsons in their present state, I would not 
live in England another day! And I say this with as much 
seriousness as if I were upon my death-bed. 

The wise men of the newspapers are for a repeal of the Corn 
Laws. With all my heart. I will join anybody in a petition for 
their repeal. But this will not be done. We shall stop short of 
this extent of " liberality," let what may be the consequence 
to the manufacturers. The cotton lords must all go, to the last 
man, rather than a repeal of these laws will take place : and of 
this the newspaper wise men may be assured. The farmers can 
but just rub along now, with all their high prices and low 
wages. What would be their state, and that of their landlords, if 
the wheat were to come down again to 4, 5, or even 6 shillings 
a bushel? Universal agricultural bankruptcy would be the 
almost instant consequence. Many of them are now deep in 
debt from the effects of 1820, 1821, and 1822. One more year 
like 1822 would have broken the whole mass up, and left the 
lands to be cultivated, under the overseers, for the benefit of the 
paupers. Society would have been nearly dissolved, and the 
state of nature would have returned. The Small-Note Bill, co- 

Winchester to Burghclere 3 1 1 

operating with the corn laws, have given a respite, and nothing 
more. This bill must remain efficient, paper-money must cover 
the country, and the corn laws must remain in force; or an 
"equitable adjustment" must take place; or to a state of 
nature this country must return. What, then, as 1 want a repeal 
of the corn laws, and also want to get rid of the paper-money, I 
must want to see this return to a state of nature ? By no means. 
I want the " equitable adjustment," and I am quite sure that no 
adjustment can be equitable which does not apply every penny's 
worth of public property to the payment of the fund-holders 
and dead-weight and the like. Clearly just and reasonable 
as this is, however, the very mention of it makes the FIRE- 
SHOVELS, and some others, half mad. It makes them storm and 
rant and swear like Bedlamites. But it is curious to hear them 
talk of the impracticability of it; when they all know that, 
by only two or three acts of parliament, Henry VIII. did ten 
times as much as it would now I hope be necessary to do. If the 
duty were imposed on me, no statesman, legislator or lawyer, 
but a simple citizen, I think I could, in less than twenty-four 
hours, draw up an act, that would give satisfaction to, I will not 
say every man; but to, at least, ninety-nine out of every hundred; 
an act that would put all affairs of money and of religion to 
rights at once; but that would, I must confess, soon take from us 
that amiable modesty, of which I have spoken above, and which 
is so conspicuously shown in our works of free trade and liberality. 
The weather is clearing up; our horses are saddled, and we 
are off. 



Monday, 7 November, 1825. 

WE came off from Burghclere yesterday afternoon, crossing 
Lord Caernarvon's park, going out of it on the west side of 
Beacon Hill, and sloping away to our right over the downs 
towards Woodcote. The afternoon was singularly beautiful. 
The downs (even the poorest of them) are perfectly green; the 
sheep on the downs look, this year, like fatting sheep : we came 
through a fine flock of ewes, and, looking round us, we saw, all 
at once, seven flocks, on different parts of the downs, each flock 
on an average containing at least 500 sheep. 

It is about six miles from Burghclere to this place; and we 
made it about twelve; not in order to avoid the turnpike-road; 
but because we do not ride about to see turnpike-roads; and, 
moreover, because I had seen this most monstrously hilly turn- 
pike-road before. We came through a village called Woodcote, 
and another called Binley. I never saw any inhabited places 
more recluse than these. Yet into these the all-searching eye 
of the taxing Thing reaches. Its exciseman can tell it what is 
doing even in the little odd corner of Binley; for even there I 
saw, over the door of a place not half so good as the place in 
which my fowls roost, " Licensed to deal in tea and tobacco" 
Poor, half-starved wretches of Binley! The hand of taxation, 
the collection for the sinecures and pensions, must fix its nails 
even in them, who really appeared too miserable to be called by 
the name of people. Yet there was one whom the taxing Thing 
had licensed (good God ! licensed /) to serve out cat-lap to these 
wretched creatures! And our impudent and ignorant news- 
paper scribes talk of the degraded state of the people of Spain I 
Impudent impostors ! Can they show a group so wretched, so 
miserable, so truly enslaved as this, in all Spain? No: and 
those of them who are not sheer fools know it well. But there 
would have been misery equal to this in Spain if the Jews and 
jobbers could have carried the bond-scheme into effect. The 
people of Spain were, through the instrumentality of patriot- 
loan makers, within an inch of being made as " enlightened " as 


Burghclere to Petersfield 3 1 3 

the poor, starving things of Binley. They would soon have had 
people " licensed " to make them pay the Jews for permission 
to chew tobacco, or to have a light in their dreary abodes. The 
people of Spain were preserved from this by the French army, 
for which the Jews cursed the French army; and the same army 
put an end to those " bonds," by means of which pious Pro- 
testants hoped to be able to get at the convents in Spain, and 
thereby put down " idolatry " in that country. These bonds 
seem now not to be worth a farthing; and so after all the Spanish 
people will have no one " licensed " by the Jews to make them 
pay for turning the fat of their sheep into candles and soap. 
These poor creatures that I behold here pass their lives amidst 
flocks of sheep ; but never does a morsel of mutton enter their 
lips. A labouring man told me, at Binley, that he had not tasted 
meat since harvest; and his looks vouched for the statement. 
Let the Spaniards come and look at this poor shotten-herring 
of a creature ; and then let them estimate what is due to a set of 
" enlightening " and loan-making " patriots." Old Fortescue 
says that " the English are clothed in good woollens throughout," 
and that they have " plenty of flesh of all sorts to eat." Yes, 
but at this time the nation was not mortgaged. The " enlighten- 
ing '" patriots would have made Spain what England now is. 
The people must never more, after a few years, have tasted 
mutton, though living surrounded with flocks of sheep. 


Wednesday Evening, 9 Nov. 

I intended to go from Uphusband to Stonehenge, thence to 
Old Sarum, and thence through the New Forest, to South- 
ampton and Botley, and thence across into Sussex, to see Up- 
Park, and Cowdry House. But, then, there must be no loss of 
time : I must adhere to a certain route as strictly as a regiment 
on a march. I had written the route: and Laverstock, after 
seeing Stonehenge and Old Sarum, was to be the resting-place of 
yesterday (Tuesday); but when it came, it brought rain with it 
after a white frost on Monday. It was likely to rain again to-day. 
It became necessary to change the route, as I must get to London 
by a certain day; and as the first day, on the new route, brought 
us here. 

I had been three times at Uphusband before, and had, as my 
readers will, perhaps, recollect, described the bourn here, or the 
brook. It has, in general, no water at all in it from August to 

314 Rural Rides 

March. There is the bed of a little river; but no water. In 
March, or thereabouts, the water begins to boil up, in thousands 
upon thousands of places, in the little narrowmeadows, just above 
the village; that is to say a little higher up the valley. When 
the chalk hills are full; when the chalk will hold no more water; 
then it comes out at the lowest spots near these immense hills 
and becomes a rivulet first, and then a river. But until this 
visit to Uphusband (or Hurstbourn Tarrant, as the map calls 
it), little did I imagine that this rivulet, dry half the year, was 
the head of the river Teste, which, after passing through Stock- 
bridge and Rumsey, falls into the sea near Southampton. 

We had to follow the bed of this river to Bourne; but there 
the water begins to appear; and it runs all the year long about 
a mile lower down. Here it crosses Lord Portsmouth's out-park, 
and our road took us the same way to the village called Down 
Husband, the scene (as the broadsheet tells us) of so many of 
that noble lord's ringing and cart-driving exploits. Here we 
crossed the London and Andover road, and leaving Andover to 
our right and Whitchurch to our left, we came on to Long Parish, 
where, crossing the water, we came up again on that high country 
which continues all across to Winchester. After passing Bulling- 
ton, Sutton, and Wonston, we veered away from Stoke Charity, 
and came across the fields to the high down, whence you see 
Winchester, or rather the cathedral; for, at this distance, you 
can distinguish nothing else clearly. 

As we had to come to this place, which is three miles up the 
river Itchen from Winchester, we crossed the Winchester and 
Basingstoke road at King's Worthy. This brought us, before 
we crossed the river, along through Martyr's Worthy, so long 
the seat of the Ogles, and now, as I observed in my last Register, 
sold to a general or colonel. These Ogles had been deans, I 
believe; or prebends, or something of that sort: and the one 
that used to live here had been, and was when he died, an 
" admiral." However, this last one, " Sir Charles," the loyal 
address mover, is my man for the present. We saw, down by 
the water-side, opposite to " Sir Charles's " late family mansion, 
a beautiful strawberry garden, capable of being watered by 
a branch of the Itchen which comes close by it, and which is, 
I suppose, brought there on purpose. Just by, on the green- 
sward, under the shade of very fine trees, is an alcove, wherein 
to sit to eat the strawberries, coming from the little garden 
just mentioned, and met by bowls of cream coming from a little 
milk-house, shaded by another clump a little lower down the 

Burghclere to Petersfield 315 

stream. What delight! What a terrestrial paradise! "Sir 
Charles " might be very frequently in this paradise, while that 
Sidmouth, whose bill he so applauded, had many men shut up 
in loathsome dungeons ! Ah, well ! " Sir Charles," those very 
men may, perhaps, at this moment, envy neither you nor Sid- 
mouth; no, nor Sidmouth's son and heir, even though Clerk of 
the Pells. At any rate, it is not likely that " Sir Charles " will 
sit again in this paradise, contemplating another loyal address, 
to carry to a county meeting ready engrossed on parchment, to 
be presented by Fleming and supported by Lockhart and the 
" Hampshire parsons." 

I think I saw, as I came along, the new owner of the estate. 
It seems that he bought it " stock and fluke " as the sailors call 
it; that is to say, that he bought movables and the whole. 
He appeared to me to be a keen man. I can't find out where 
he comes from, or what he, or his father, has been. I like to see 
the revolution going on; but I like to be able to trace the parties 
a little more closely. " Sir Charles," the loyal address gentle- 
man, lives in London, I hear. I will, I think, call upon him (if 
I can find him out) when I get back, and ask how he does now ? 
There is one Holiest, a George Holiest, who figured pretty bigly 
on that same loyal address day. This man is become quite 
an inoffensive harmless creature. If we were to have another 
county meeting, he would not, I think, threaten to put the sash 
down upon anybody's head ! Oh ! Peel, Peel, Peel ! Thy bill, 
oh, Peel, did sicken them so ! Let us, oh, thou offspring of the 
great Spinning Jenny promoter, who subscribed ten thousand 
pounds towards the late " glorious " war; who was, after that, 
made a baronet, and whose biographers (in the Baronetage) tell 
the world that he had a " presentiment that he should be the 
founder of a family." Oh, thou, thou great Peel, do thou let us 
have only two more years of thy bill! Or, oh, great Peel, 
minister of the interior, do thou let us have repeal of Corn Bill ! 
Either will do, great Peel. We shall then see such modest 'squires, 
and parsons looking so queer ! However, if thou wilt not listen 
to us, great Peel, we must, perhaps (and only perhaps), wait 
a little longer. It is sure to come at last, and to come, too, in the 
most efficient way. 

The water in the Itchen is, they say, famed for its clearness. 
As I was crossing the river the other day, at Avington, I told 
Richard to look at it, and I asked him if he did not think it very 
clear. I now find that this has been remarked by very ancient 
writers. I see, in a newspaper just received, an account of 


Rural Rides 

dreadful fires in New Brunswick. It is curious that, in my 
Register of the 2Qth October (dated from Chilworth in Surrey), 
I should have put a question, relative to the white clover, the 
huckleberries, or the raspberries, which start up after the 
burning down of woods in America. These fires have been at 
two places which I saw when there were hardly any people 
in the whole country; and if there never had been any people 
there to this day, it would have been a good thing for England. 
Those colonies are a dead expense, without a possibility of their 
ever being of any use. There are, I see, a church and a barrack 
destroyed. And why a barrack? What! were there bayonets 
wanted already to keep the people in order? For as to an 
enemy, where was he to come from ? And if there really be an 
enemy anywhere there about, would it not be a wise way to 
leave the worthless country to him, to use it after his own way? 
I was at that very Fredericton, where they say thirty houses 
and thirty-nine barns have now been burnt. I can remember 
when there was no more thought of there ever being a barn 
there than there is now thought of there being economy in our 
government. The English money used to be spent prettily in 
that country. What do we want with armies and barracks and 
chaplains in those woods ? What does anybody want with them ; 
but we, above all the rest of the world ? There is nothing there, 
no house, no barrack, no wharf, nothing, but what is bought 
with taxes raised on the half-starving people of England. What 
do we want with these wildernesses ? Ah ! but they are wanted 
by creatures who will not work in England, and whom this fine 
system of ours sends out into those woods to live in idleness 
upon the fruit of English labour. The soldier, the commissary, 
the barrack-master, all the whole tribe, no matter under what 
name ; what keeps them? They are paid " by government; " 
and I wish that we constantly bore in mind that the " govern- 
ment " pays our money. It is, to be sure, sorrowful to hear of 
such fires and such dreadful effects proceeding from them; but 
to me it is beyond all measure more sorrowful to see the labourers 
of England worse fed than the convicts in the gaols ; and I know 
very well that these worthless and jobbing colonies have assisted 
to bring England into this horrible state. The honest labouring 
man is allowed (aye, by the magistrates) less food than the felon 
in the goal; and the felon is clothed and has fuel; and the 
labouring man has nothing allowed for these. These worthless 
colonies, which find places for people that the Thing provides 
for, have helped to produce this dreadful state in England. 

Burghclere to Petersfield 317 

Therefore, any assistance the sufferers should never have from 
me, while I could find an honest and industrious English labourer 
(unloaded with a family too) fed worse than a felon in the gaols; 
and this I can find in every part of the country. 

Friday Evening, 1 1 November. 

We lost another day at Easton; the whole of yesterday it 
having rained the whole day; so that we could not have come 
an inch but in the wet. We started, therefore, this morning, 
coming through the Duke of Buckingham's park, at Avington, 
which is close by Easton, and on the same side of the Itchen. 
This is a very beautiful place. The house is close down at the 
edge of the meadow land ; there is a lawn before it, and a pond 
supplied by the Itchen, at the end of the lawn, and bounded by 
the park on the other side. The high road, through the park, 
goes very near to this water; and we saw thousands of wild- 
ducks in the pond, or sitting round on the green edges of it, 
while, on one side of the pond, the hares and pheasants were 
moving about upon a gravel walk on the side of a very fine 
plantation. We looked down upon all this from a rising ground, 
and the water, like a looking-glass, showed us the trees, and even 
the animals. This is certainly one of the very prettiest spots 
in the world. The wild water-fowl seem to take particular 
delight in this place. There are a great many at Lord Caer- 
narvon's; but there the water is much larger, and the ground 
and wood about it comparatively rude and coarse. Here, at 
Avington, everything is in such beautiful order; the lawn before 
the house is of the finest green, and most neatly kept; and the 
edge of the pond (which is of several acres) is as smooth as if it 
formed part of a bowling-green. To see so many ze>z7^-fowl, in a 
situation where everything is in the parterre-order, has a most 
pleasant effect on the mind; and Richard and I, like Pope's 
cock in the farm-yard, could not help thanking the duke and 
duchess for having generously made such ample provision for 
our pleasure, and that, too, merely to please us as we were 
passing along. Now this is the advantage of going about on 
horseback. On foot, the fatigue is too great, and you go too 
slowly. In any sort of carriage, you cannot get into the real 
country places. To travel in stage coaches is to be hurried along 
by force, in a box, with an air-hole in it, and constantly exposed 
to broken limbs, the danger being much greater than that of 

318 Rural Rides 

ship-board, and the noise much more disagreeable, while the 
company is frequently not a great deal more to one's liking. 

From this beautiful spot we had to mount gradually the 
downs to the southward; but it is impossible to quit the vale 
of the Itchen without one more look back at it. To form a just 
estimate of its real value, and that of the lands near it, it is only 
necessary to know that, from its source, at Bishop's Sutton, 
this river has, on its two banks, in the distance of nine miles 
(before it reaches Winchester) thirteen parish churches. There 
must have been some people to erect these churches. It is 
not true, then, that Pitt and George III. created the English 
nation, notwithstanding all that the Scotch feeloso/ers are ready 
to swear about the matter. In short, there can be no doubt 
in the mind of any rational man that in the time of the Plan- 
tagenets England was more populous than it is now. 

When we began to get up towards the downs we, to our 
great surprise, saw them covered with snow. " Sad times 
coming on for poor Sir Glory," said I to Richard. " Why? ' 
said Dick. It was too cold to talk much; and, besides, a great 
sluggishness in his horse made us both rather serious. The 
horse had been too hard ridden at Burghclere, and had got cold. 
This made us change our route again, and instead of going over 
the downs towards Hambledon, in our way to see the park and 
the innumerable hares and pheasants of Sir Harry Featherstone, 
we pulled away more to the left, to go through Bramdean, and 
so on to Petersfield, contracting greatly our intended circuit. 
And besides, I had never seen Bramdean, the spot on which, 
it is said, Alfred fought his last great and glorious battle with 
the Danes. A fine country for a battle, sure enough ! 

A little to our right, as we came along, we left the village of 
Kimston, where Squire Grseme once lived, as was before related. 
Here, too, lived a Squire Ridge, a famous fox-hunter, at a great 
mansion, now used as a farm-house; and it is curious enough 
that this squire's son-in-law, one Gunner, an attorney at 
Bishop's Waltham, is steward to the man who now owns the 

Before we got to Petersfield, we called at an old friend's and 
got some bread and cheese and small beer, which we preferred 
to strong. In approaching Petersfield we began to descend 
from the high chalk-country, which (with the exception of the 
valleys of the Itchen and the Teste) had lasted us from Uphus- 
band (almost the north-west point of the county) to this place, 
which is not far from the south-east point of it. Here we quit 

Burghclere to Petersfield 319 

flint and chalk and downs, and take to sand, clay, hedges, and 
coppices; and here, on the verge of Hampshire, we begin again 
to see those endless little bubble-formed hills that we before 
saw round the foot of Hindhead. We have got in in very good 
time, and got, at the Dolphin, good stabling for our horses. 
The waiters and people at inns look so hard at us to see us so 
liberal as to horse-feed, fire, candle, beds, and room, while we 
are so very very sparing in the article of drink I They seem 
to pity our taste. I hear people complain of the " exorbitant 
charges " at inns; but my wonder always is how the people 
can live with charging so little. Except in one single instance, 
I have uniformly, since I have been from home, thought the 
charges too low for people to live by. 

This long evening has given me time to look at the Star news- 
paper of last night; and I see that, with all possible desire to 
disguise the fact, there is a great " panic " brewing. It is 
impossible that this thing can go on, in its present way, for any 
length of time. The talk about " speculations "; that is to say, 
' adventurous dealings or, rather, commercial gamblings;" the 
talk about these having been the cause of the breakings and the 
other symptoms of approaching convulsion, is the most miserable 
nonsense that ever was conceived in the heads of idiots. These 
are effect ; not cause. The cause is the Small-note Bill, that last 
brilliant effort of the joint mind of Van and Castlereagh. That 
bill was, as I always called it, a respite ; and it was, and could 
be, nothing more. It could only put off the evil hour; it could 
not prevent the final arrival of that hour. To have proceeded 
with Peel's bill was, indeed, to produce total convulsion. The 
land must have been surrendered to the overseers for the use 
of the poor. That is to say, without an " equitable adjust- 
ment." But that adjustment as prayed for by Kent, Norfolk, 
Hereford, and Surrey, might have taken place; it ought to have 
taken place: and it must, at last, take place, or convulsion 
must come. As to the nature of this " adjustment," is it not 
most distinctly described in the Norfolk petition? Is not that 
memorable petition now in the Journals of the House of Com- 
mons ? What more is wanted than to act on the prayer of that 
very petition ? Had I to draw up a petition again, I would not 
change a single word of that. It pleased Mr. Brougham's " best 
public instructor " to abuse that petition, and it pleased Daddy 
Coke and the Hickory Quaker, Gurney, and the wise barn- 
orator, to calumniate its author. They succeeded; but their 
success was but shame to them ; and that author is yet destined 

320 Rural Rides 

to triumph over them. I have seen no London paper for ten 
days, until to-day; and I should not have seen this if the 
waiter had not forced it upon me. I know very nearly what 
will happen by next May, or thereabouts ; and as to the manner 
in which things will work in the meanwhile, it is of far less 
consequence to the nation than it is what sort of weather I 
shall have to ride in to-morrow. One thing, however, I wish 
to observe, and that is, that if any attempt be made to repeal 
the Corn Bill, the main body of the farmers will be crushed into 
total ruin. I come into contact with few who are not gentle- 
men or very substantial farmers: but I know the state of the 
whole ; and I know that even with present prices, and with 
honest labourers fed worse than felons, it is rub-and-go with 
nineteen-twentieths of the farmers; and of this fact I beseech 
the ministers to be well aware. And with this fact staring them 
in the face ! with that other horrid fact, that by the regulations 
of the magistrates (who cannot avoid it, mind), the honest 
labourer is fed worse than the convicted felon; with the 
breakings of merchants, so ruinous to confiding foreigners, so 
disgraceful to the name of England; with the thousands of 
industrious and care-taking creatures reduced to beggary by 
bank-paper; with panic upon panic, plunging thousands upon 
thousands into despair: with all this notorious as the sun at 
noon-day, will they again advise their royal master to tell the 
parliament and the world, that this country is " in a state of 
unequalled prosperity," and that this prosperity ' must be 
permanent, because all the great interests are flourishing ? ' 
Let them! That will not alter the result. I had been, for 
several weeks, saying, that the seeming prosperity was fallacious ; 
that the cause of it must lead to ultimate and shocking ruin; 
that it could not last, because it arose from causes so manifestly 
fictitious ; that, in short, it was the fair-looking, but poisonous, 
fruit of a miserable expedient. I had been saying this for 
several weeks, when out came the king's speech and gave me 
and my doctrines the lie direct as to every point. Well: now, 
then, we shall soon see. 







Books of Travel in 
Everyman's Library 

Voyages of Discovery by James Cook. 

No. 99 
Captain Cook's three great voyages (1768-78) 

Portuguese Voyages, 1498-1663. Edited by 

Charles David Ley. No. 986 
The human record, from contemporary 
accounts, of the Portuguese Age of Discovery. 

The Survey of London by John Stow. 

No. 589 

The large format edition has been re-equipped 
with full topographical index, enlarged bio- 
graphy, and additional notes. 

Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides zvith Dr 
Johnson by James Boswell. No. 387 

Memoirs of the Crusades by Geoffrey de 

Villehardouin and Jean, Sire de Joinville. 

No. 333 

The Travels of Mungo Park. No. 205 

The book by one of the earliest of Africa's 


Eothen by Alexander Kinglake. No. 337 

From the Danube through the Ottoman 

dominions to Cairo. 

Modern Egyptians by Edward William 

Lane. No. 315 

Written in the reign of Alohamet Ali, and still 
the Egyptian travel book. 

The Voyage of the 'Beagle' by Charles 
Darwin. No. 104 








Fiction Biography Poetry Drama Science Travel 

Essays Belles-Lettres Translations from the Classics 

Books for Young People Books of Reference Oratory 

Romance History Religion Philosophy 

Books of All Times Books of All Lands 

Strong Binding Clear Print 

The Greatest Value in Great Books 
Forty-six Million Volumes Sold 







De la Mare 



I 1 

Jane Austen 



Adam Smith 

L ' 



D. H. Lawrence 














George Eliot 


J. M. Synge 


The Brontes 












E. M. Forster 








Jules Verne 


. A 
















J. B. Priestley 








Charles Reade 

Virginia Woolf 



Victor Hugo 





Dr Johnson 








1 1 






A full list of 

the Library is 

obtainable from 

the Publishers 



The New York Public Library 


455 Fifth Avenue 
New York, NY 10016